About the Book
Professor Maxine Sayers once found her personal and professional life so fulfilling that she founded the Institute of Future Studies, a program dedicated to studying the effects of technology on our culture and finding ways to prolong human life. But when her beloved husband dies, she is so devastated she can barely get out of bed. To make matters worse, her son, Zach, has abruptly quit his job in Silicon Valley and been out of contact for seven months. Maxine is jolted from her grief by her sudden suspicion that a favorite former student (and a former close friend of her son) might be a terrorist called the Technobomber and that Zach might either be involved in or become a victim of this extremist’s bombing. Deserting her teaching responsibilities, her ailing mother, and an appealing suitor, Maxine feels compelled to set out and search for her son in order to warn and protect him, even as she knows she should report her suspicions to the FBI to prevent greater carnage.
Inspired by the true story of the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski, and his studies at the University of Michigan, The Professor of Immortality is a gripping, heartfelt look at the way we might or might not choose to respond to recent advances in science and technology, that, despite their positive impact, also threaten to destroy our environment, our privacy, our ability to connect with nature, and our sense of life’s authentic meaning and purpose.
Advance Praise for The Professor of Immortality
The Professor of Immortality is intimate and sweeping, funny and terrifying, and most of all dead-on in its observations of what it means to want to know everything about people we love while still being frightened of what we might find out: it’s a detective story, and a story of motherlove. Eileen Pollack is a splendid writer.
― Elizabeth McCracken, author of Bowlaway
The Professor of Immortality is a tragicomedy about the paradoxes of trying to be a decent human, and—maybe even trickier—of trying to be a decent mom. It’s also page by page a joy to read. Eileen Pollack is one of the smartest, funniest, and most companionable novelists out there.
― Rivka Galchen, author of Atmospheric Disturbances
In this exceptional novel, Eileen Pollack writes with great immediacy about the impact of grief on a parent’s perception of the world. Tender, wry, full of unexpected revelations, The Professor of Immortality gripped me from the first scene, and the urgent questions it poses have stayed with me.
― Idra Novey, author of Those Who Knew
About the Author
Eileen Pollack was born and grew up in Liberty, N.Y., the heart of the Jewish Catskills, where her grandparents owned and operated a small hotel. In addition to The Rabbi in the Attic, she is the author of the novelsParadise, New York, also set in the Catskills, Breaking and Entering, and, most recently, A Perfect Life.
Eileen’s second collection of stories and novellas, In the Mouth, was named the winner of the Edward Lewis Wallant Award, in addition to being shortlisted for the Sophie Brody Medal for Jewish literature, chosen as a finalist for the Paterson Fiction Award, and awarded a silver medal in ForeWord Magazine’s 2008 Book of the Year Awards.
Eileen has received fellowships from the NEA, the Michener Foundation, the Rona Jaffe Foundation, and the Massachusetts Arts Council. Her novella “The Bris” was chosen to appear in Best American Short Stories, edited by Stephen King; two other stories have been awarded Pushcart Prizes, and her essay “Pigeons” was selected by Cheryl Strayed for Best American Essays. She divides her time between Manhattan and Ann Arbor, where she teaches on the faculty of the MFA Program in Creative Writing at the University of Michigan.