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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
by helenzuman in General
[This is my October column for Livelihood magazine. I’m posting it here, temporarily, until it appears on the Livelihood website. Enjoy!] In past columns, I’ve purported to know what I’m talking about. This month, for a change, I’d like to explore something that remains mysterious, perhaps to you as well: how to create and maintain […]
by helenzuman in General
I wrote this song in 2006, after completing my Permaculture Design Course at the Occidental Arts & Ecology Center in Occidental, California (and Bill McKibben’s The End of Nature). When I sand it last week at the NYC Permaculture Festival, some listeners requested a recording. Here it is, with lyrics: Oil runs down from […]
At first, she thought the tools didn’t belong in her writing area (which double, tripled, quadrupled, quintupled as her bathroom, dining table, charging station, ancestor altar, art studio, and so on). After all, she hadn’t put them there—she simply hadn’t bothered to remove them. Once she’d wiped the blackened boards of the ancient workbench a […]