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Texas Matters: Author Elizabeth Harris And Mayhem


Austin-based author, Elizabeth Harris, brings us the story of a woman who is the victim of a violent act.  In Mayhem: The Three Lives of a Woman, protagonist, Evelyn Kunkel Gant does indeed live three lives. She is daughter, wife, and then, as a victim of sexual assault, a pariah—one who never receives any kind of compassion or vindication—except through the telling of her story.  Elizabeth Harris takes us to the rural Texas of the 1930s—a place immersed in gender and social expectations that bring no sympathy to Evelyn. Instead Evelyn, who had been the daughter of moneyed, prominent landowners, becomes a paid laborer in other people’s homes in order to survive---and to recover from trauma.  Novelist Elizabeth Harris spoke to Yvette Benavides from her home in Austin.

Elizabeth Harris is the winner of the Gival Press Novel Award.  The former University of Texas literature professor is the guest speaker of the Fall 2016 Social Justice Reading Series at Our Lady of the Lake University.  She will read and discuss her novel Mayhem: The Three Lives of a Woman on Wednesday, October 26 at 7:00 pm in the Library Community Room on the campus of Our Lady of the Lake University.

David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi