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Helen Zuman is a tree-hugging dirt worshipper devoted to turning waste into food and the stinky guck of experience into fertile, fragrant prose. She holds a BA in Visual and Environmental Studies from Harvard and a Half-FA in memoir from Hunter College. Raised in Brooklyn, she lives with her husband in Beacon, NY and Black Mountain, NC.
A Harvard grad seeks a mate in a cult that forbids monogamy. To pursue love on her own terms, she must brave exile and learn self-trust. When recent Harvard grad Helen Zuman moved to Zendik Farm in 1999, she was thrilled to discover that the Zendiks used go-betweens to arrange sexual assignations, or “dates,” in […]
Just as the Zendik community, a cult, pulled Helen Zuman in and held her, her account of her time there will pull you in and hold you. Her clear-eyed observations of her fellow idealists—and of herself—are honest, compelling, and sophisticated.
– DANIEL MENAKER, author of My Mistake: A Memoir
[Zuman’s] whip-smart prose…conveys the squalid exuberance of Zendik’s blend of idealism and fraud [in this] engrossing and offbeat story of ideological bonds that chafe—and sometimes liberate.
– KIRKUS REVIEWS (starred review)
Zuman’s entertaining depiction of life in a cult pits the appeal of belonging versus the desire for self-determination. An enlightening read.
– JULIA SCHEERES, author of A Thousand Lives and Jesus Land
Madgelma didn’t know what had gotten into her, on that particular day; she did know that the sweep of her arm seemed inexorable, as she shoved that first laptop off the table. She was staying at a hostel in Scotland, on the sacred Isle of Iona. There was a sign posted on the door to […]
by helenzuman in General
Let’s talk about violence. Violence is. It manifests in countless forms, beyond shootings and knifings and fist fights. I sometimes call motor vehicles “motor weapons” because of the swath of death they leave in their wake (30,000-40,000 humans, and uncounted non-humans, die each year on the road, in the United States alone). And then there’s […]
by helenzuman in General
In my last post, I reviewed an epic, partly autobiographical novel called Sanction (which I am not necessarily recommending for your reading pleasure, as it is shocking and horrifying in some ways, and decidedly not for the easily offended), by Roman McClay. Among its many unusual features are detailed renderings—from the author’s life—of drilling for […]