Alumna Mandy Berman '15 to Release Second Novel 'The Learning Curve'
BY Zoe Contros Kearl, May 1, 2019
A love triangle among two college friends and a charismatic professor alters the lives of everyone involved in this razor-sharp novel from an author whose work has been hailed as “captivating” by J. Courtney Sullivan, author of Saints for All Occasions.
“The complexities of intimacy and consent are explored in this smart, engaging coming-of-age story... Berman delivers a thorough and incredibly timely investigation into relationship power imbalances that’s sure to start a lot of conversations.”—Publishers Weekly
Fiona and Liv are seniors at Buchanan College, a small liberal arts school in rural Pennsylvania. Fiona, who is still struggling emotionally after the death of her younger sister, is spending her final college year sleeping with abrasive men she meets in bars. Liv is happily coupled and on the fast track to marriage with an all-American frat boy. Both of their journeys, and their friendship, will be derailed by the relationships they develop with Oliver Ash, a ruggedly good-looking visiting literature professor whose first novel was published to great success when he was twenty-six. But now, Oliver is in his early forties, with thinning hair, and a checkered past, including talk of a relationship with an underage woman—a former student—at a previous teaching job. Meanwhile, Oliver’s wife, Simone, is pursuing an academic research project in Berlin, raising their five-year-old son, dealing with her husband’s absence, and wondering if their marriage is beyond repair.
Of Berman’s debut novel, Perennials, critics said, "Berman’s debut recalls the beloved teen and adult novels of Judy Blume, both in topic and prose style: simple, powerful, unafraid to confront serious issues."—Kirkus Reviews
Mandy Berman is the author of the novel Perennials and the forthcoming The Learning Curve. Born and raised in the Hudson Valley, she received her MFA in Writing from Columbia University. She teaches creative writing at Manhattanville College, Montclair State University, and Catapult Writing Workshops, and lives in Brooklyn.