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It's Greek to Her

Noted researcher patterns first novel after ancient tragi-romance.


After decades of writing about women's behavior, social psychologist Carol Gilligan borrows pages from the classic Greek love story of Dido and Aeneas in Virgil's Aeneid for her debut novel, Kyra. The storyline, she says, examines how smart people can do stupid things when they're in love. "My husband calls it a love story for grown-ups," says Gilligan, who'll sign copies of the book tonight in Legacy Village. "It's about a love between two people who have experienced a lot in life, who have come through a tragic history of Europe in the 20th century, and who find themselves unexpectedly in love again." The tale pairs an architect named Kyra with Andreas, who's in town to direct an operatic production. Both characters have troubling pasts: Her husband was killed by her half-brother in Cyprus; his wife has disappeared and is thought to be dead in Hungary. Without warning, Andreas suddenly announces that he's going back to Budapest, and Kyra freaks out. "I don't think love makes us crazy. What makes us crazy is when we feel that depth of connection with someone, and they do something that calls the reality of that experience into question," says Gilligan, whose 1982 book about gender-based issues, In a Different Voice, started a revolution in psychotherapy. "I loved writing the novel and living in that world with those characters, even though there were times when it felt like I was walking off a cliff." Gilligan signs her book at 7 tonight at Joseph-Beth Booksellers, 24519 Cedar Road in Legacy Village in Lyndhurst. Admission is free. Call 216-691-7000 or visit
Wed., Feb. 27, 7 p.m., 2008

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