Lisa Gornick ’77 (© Sigrid Estrada)
Lisa Gornick ’77 (© Sigrid Estrada)

Lisa Gornick ’77 has woven the events of everyday lives — some tragic, some moving, and some mundane — into the vignettes that comprise her third novel, Louisa Meets Bear. In the title story, the sexually adventurous student Louisa and the mercurial plumber’s son Bear have a passionate affair after meeting at Princeton in 1975. Their relationship is a defining event in their lives, and it comes full circle in the book’s final chapter, which describes the characters’ trajectory over three decades. Other stories deal with Louisa’s and Bear’s friends and family. After earning a doctorate in clinical psychology from Yale and completing the psychoanalytic training program at Columbia, Gornick worked as a therapist before shifting her focus to writing, using her psychological insights to shape her characters. In the novel A Private Sorcery, Gornick explores the family dynamics that lead a psychiatrist to a prescription drug addiction. Tinderbox, her second book, is the story of a Manhattan psychologist in a destructive relationship.

In an interview on National Public Radio, the analyst-turned-author says she “almost writes case studies for each of her characters. I cannot begin to write until I feel like I really understand [a] person, and sometimes that means going back generations. Just as happens in a psychotherapy process, the real learning comes when you put the character on the page in interaction with other characters.” Publishers Weekly says that in Louisa Meets Bear, “Gornick captures all the heartbreak and joy of what it is to be human.” [gravityform id="6" title="true" description="true"]