Brooklyn author Joanna Hershon’s father attended Harvard in the late 1950s. She was in middle school when she saw what’s known as Harvard’s Red Book, in which graduates write about what they’d done since graduation. “As a seventh grader, I read it cover to cover; and what always stayed with me was how wildly different all their lives had turned out,” she says. “The Red Book, in all its mystery, inserted itself into my imagination and I suppose it never left.”
Inspired by these real-life stories spanning decades, Hershon creates an intriguing tale in A Dual Inheritance, which follows two very different Harvard students from their undergrad years to the present. Ed and Hugh have nothing in common. One is upper class, the other working class, and their unlikely lifelong bond launches this saga of passion and betrayal. One becomes a big shot on Wall Street, the other a global humanitarian, but their friendship ends abruptly, with only one of them understanding why.
Spanning from the Cuban Missile Crisis to the present-day stock market collapse, this novel not only follows these two men, but the complicated women in their vastly different lives. The reader gets to see how the characters’ choices mold their futures while joining them on a global journey that takes them from New York to Haiti.
This thought-provoking generational tale is a heartfelt and beautiful story of an unlikely friendship that fades at times, but never seems to go away.
Joanna Hershon will appear at Book Revue in Huntington on May 9 at 7 p.m. for a book signing.