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Judith Freeman with Ursula K. Le Guin at Powell’s Books in 1989

The relationship between feminism and religion, and religion and the state, are topics a lot of us are thinking about right now.  I invite you to join me May 3rd  for a conversation about feminism and Mormonism as part of the WATERTALK series exploring spirituality and feminism / feminism and patriarchy.  You’ll find the link below.

http://www.waterwomensalliance.org/may-3-watertalk-with-judith-freeman/.

I’m also posting the text of an introduction Ursula K. Le Guin delivered when I appeared at Powell’s Books last June, on the occasion of a reading from my memoir, “The Latter Days."  Ursula is one of the writers and thinkers who has been most valuable and helpful to me in forging my own identity as a writer----the girl who, as she puts it, blundered into freedom.  When my first novel was published Ursula introduced me at a reading at Powell’s, now almost thirty years ago (which of course now seems almost a lifetime.)  Here is Ursula’s introduction:

Ursula:  “Judith came to Powells back in 1989 to read from her first novel, The Chinchilla Farm.  I am happy to welcome her back to read from her new memoir, which gives us the real-life background of that wonderful story of how a girl can blunder into freedom.

Latter Days tells us about what life’s like when your religion is also your  government -- a government whose decisions are unarguable because authorized directly by God.

The men who wrote the U.S. Constitution were so afraid of the terrific power of a religious state, and so aware of the difficulty of combining a hierarchical religion with a democratic government, that – after honest and civil acknowledgments to God -- they wrote religion right out of the government of the United States.

Ever since then, organized believers have struggled to sneak it back in. The “religious Right” that is such a powerful force in our politics is not just fundamentalist Christian but also, less noisily, Mormon. Though there are fewer Mormons than Jews (under 6 million) in the United States, we haven’t yet had a Jewish candidate for President, but we just had a Mormon one.  The Mormon establishment offers radical conservatives a successful model of non-militarized control of civil life by a religious hierarchy -- politically reactionary, patriotic, pro-capitalist, intensely secretive, and entirely male.

Judith Freeman tells us about being a girl growing up inside a power-structure that is in many ways like an Islamic state.  We see and feel the trust, the security, the real happiness, that prevail in that society -- and the subjection of thought to belief, of freedom to authority, and of women to men. Judith is stunningly honest – and yes, she is under excommunication for it – and also stunningly unresentful.  She’s not taking revenge on anybody.  She’s hate-free.   She’s just getting some air and light into a secretive corner of our troubled Republic.  This is a fascinating, timely book – and a very moving one.”

(Intro for Powell’s reading, June 14, 2016)

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WATERtalks: Feminist Conversations in Religion Series

The Latter Days: Surviving Mormon Patriarchy in the Age of Feminism”

judith freeman

An hour-long teleconference with

Judith Freeman

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

1 PM – 2 PM ET

REGISTER HERE

Judith Freeman is a novelist, critic, and essayist whose newest book, The Latter Days, was published by Pantheon in June 2016. Kirkus called the book “a poignant, searching memoir of self-discovery.” The paperback of The Latter Days is due out Spring 2017.

Judith will speak about her Mormon upbringing and the challenges of being a girl in a strictly patriarchal world, as well as the difficulties of addressing such experiences as an adult. This will resonate with many women’s religious experiences in various traditions.

Judith Freeman’s other novels include, The Chinchilla Farm (1989), Set For Life (1991), A Desert of Pure Feeling (1996), and Red Water, named one of the 100 best books of 2002 by the Los Angeles Times.   She is also the author of the non-fiction work The Long Embrace: Raymond Chandler and the Woman He Loved.

She received a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in 1997, and also won the Western Heritage Award for her novel, Set For Life in 1992. Her essays and articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune and other periodicals. She lives in Los Angeles and rural Idaho with her husband, artist photographer Anthony Hernandez.

We will provide recommended readings for those who register for this talk.

Feel free to email waterstaff@hers.com if you have any trouble registering or need more information. Thank you!

judith_freeman-ah-border

Welcome to the official website of Judith Freeman, author of the following works of fiction:
Family Attractions, The Chinchilla FarmA Desert of Pure FeelingRed Water, and the nonfiction book: The Long Embrace: Raymond Chandler and The Woman He Loved.

Her memoir, The Latter Days, published in 2016 by Pantheon Books, was called a "must-read memoir" by the Chicago Tribune, and selected as one of NPR's best books of the year.

Here are a few early reactions to this new book:

"The Latter Days, written with thoughtful, hard-won honesty, is the record of a girl growing up in a closed society rigidly governed by a male religious hierarchy-a profoundly undemocratic system that claims to embody American values. Painfully but with no rancor, Freeman makes vivid the security of belonging and the rewards of obedience, the costs of security and obedience, and the rewards and costs of seeking freedom. A brave and valuable book."  - Ursula K Le Guin, author of The Left Hand of Darkness

"A poignant, searching memoir of self-discovery." - Kirkus Reviews

"An affecting and tender memoir." -  Ron Carlson

"A beautiful, surprising, elegant memoir" - Janet Fitch

 

What Critics Are Saying About The Long Embrace:

“Compelling . . . Ms. Freeman knows Los Angeles as well as Marlowe himself . . . Like Cissy, when she crooks her finger, it’s impossible not to follow.” - The New York Times

“Aches with emotion and loneliness. . . Until now, no other book has made us view this great American writer afresh.” - Los Angeles Times

“May be the essential book on Raymond Chandler. Like his books, it offers a rational solution to a puzzle while at the same time retaining a sense of mystery.” - Chicago Tribune

“Complex and delicate . . . enthralled and enthralling . . The Long Embrace is one of the literary events of the year.”  - Los Angeles Magazine

“Atmospheric and unusual . . . A restless hallucination of a book about a woman obsessed by a mystery that she knows she will never solve—and perhaps does not wish to solve.”  - The New York Review of Books

 

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The Strange Promise of a Genuine Squirrel Coat

March 27, 2017

By Judith Freeman / Published March 25, 2017 – Los Angeles Review of Books I ONCE OWNED a dress I loved so much that every time I wore it, I felt like an actress in a French New Wave film. The dress was red, a perfect Titian red, with a close fitting bodice and full skirt,…




Read More

The Wall Street Journal: Five Best: Judith Freeman on Mormons and Mormonism

October 1, 2016

Judith Freeman selects and reviews the five best books on Mormons and Mormonism for the Wall Street Journal. Read the article here Five Best: Judith Freeman on Mormons and Mormonism Sept. 30, 2016 1:02 p.m. ET Ms. Freeman is the author, most recently, of ‘The Latter Days: A Memoir.’   No Man Knows My History…




Read More

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July 22, 2016

Judith Freeman uses a famous quote from Czeslaw Milosz on the last page of her new memoir, “The Latter Days”: “When a writer is born into a family,” Milosz said, “the family is finished.” It’s tempting to buy into such literary fatalism after reading Freeman’s account of her life as a stylish young rebel in…




Read More

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Read More

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June 27, 2016

Barnes & Noble picks The Latter Days for “Top of the Long List” in their “Our Week in Review” For June 24, 2016.




Read More

Books

The Latter Days
The Long Embrace
Book Cover - Red Water
Red Water
A Desert of Pure Feeling
Set For Life
Set For Life
The Chinchilla Farm
Family Attractions