WATCH: Lisa Hsiao Chen and Eugene Lim on the Spaces Between Living and Creating
Hosted by Greenlight Bookstore
Greenlight helps launch the much-anticipated first novel by Lisa Hsiao Chen, Activities of Daily Living. Chen’s searching, sharply observed debut probes the interconnection between work and life, loneliness and kinship, and the projects that occupy our time. Author and publisher Eugene Lim (Search History) joins Chen in conversation at our Fort Greene store for an evening tracing the folds between living and creating.
In the off-hours from her day job, Alice—a Taiwanese immigrant in her thirties—struggles to create a project about the enigmatic downtown performance artist Tehching Hsieh and his monumental, yearlong 1980s performance pieces. Meanwhile, she becomes the caretaker for her aging stepfather, a Vietnam vet whose dream of making traditional Chinese furniture dissolved in alcoholism and dementia. As Alice roots deeper into Hsieh’s radical use of time and his mysterious disappearance from the art world, her project starts metabolizing events from her own life. She wanders from subway rides to street protests, loses touch with a friend, and tenderly observes her father’s slow decline. Moving between present-day and 1980s New York City, with detours to Silicon Valley and the Venice Biennale, this vivid debut announces Chen as an audacious new talent.
Founded in October 2009 by Rebecca Fitting and Jessica Stockton Bagnulo, Greenlight Bookstore is an independent bookstore in Brooklyn, New York. Combining the best traditions of the neighborhood bookstore with carefully curated, community-minded events, Greenlight has earned a reputation as a literary destination. Greenlight has continued to serve its community during the COVID-19 pandemic with a diverse array of virtual events, and has been inspired by the movements for racial justice across the country to engage in the work of becoming a more anti-racist company. Learn more at greenlightbookstore.com or check them out @greenlightbklyn.