Author Susan Faludi Presents "In the Darkroom of Identity"

Posted on Thursday, January 11th, 2018

Susan Faludi

Pulitzer-prize winning journalist Susan Faludi will speak about her latest book, In the Darkroom (Henry Holt & Co., 2016), at the University of Northern Iowa on Feb. 6, 2018. Her talk will be at 7 p.m. in the Kamerick Art Building Auditorium, KAM 111.

In the Darkroom is about her father, Steven Faludi, who transitioned into a woman when he was 70. The book was one of the New York Times 10 Best Books of 2016, winner of the 2016 Kirkus Prize for Nonfiction, winner of a National Book Critics Circle Award, and a Pulitzer Prize finalist.

To write In the Darkroom, Faludi traveled regularly to Hungary over five years to visit and interview her American father, who had resettled in the country of his birth. István (Steven) Faludi had grown up in a wealthy, assimilated Jewish family and had narrowly escaped fascist Hungary during World War II. Through her beautifully written book, Susan Faludi investigates her father’s Hungarian past and the nationalistic country that he chose to return to. She examines his role as a father in a suburban home with an American wife and two American children. And she also delves deep into her father’s new life, touching upon the history of reassignment surgery and transgender research along the way.

Susan Faludi is well known for the classic feminist text Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women. Published in 1991, Backlash documented the social retaliations towards women throughout the 1980s. Faludi is also the author of the widely praised Stiffed: The Betrayal of the American Man (2000), The Terror Dream: Myth and Misogyny in an Insecure America (2008), and numerous articles and essays. Faludi won a Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Journalism in 1991 for her Wall Street Journal story on “the leveraged buy-out of Safeway Stores, Inc., that revealed the human costs of high finance.”

Critical praise for In the Darkroom includes:

  • “Penetrating and lucid...In the Darkroom is Faludi’s rich, arresting, and ultimately generous investigation of her father.”—The New York Times Book Review 
  • “A wrought and multilayered memoir...Powerful and absorbing.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
  • “A moving and penetrating inquiry into manifold struggles for identity, community, and authenticity.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
  • “Faludi’s eloquent, timely, and sweeping-yet-intimate new a mash-up of genres and themes about family secrets, masculinity and femininity, feminism, violence, the Holocaust, taking revenge. Knitting it all together are questions of identity: Who—or what—makes us who and what we are? How immutable is the end result?”—Elle

Faludi’s lecture is part of the 2017-2018 Hearst Lecture Series of the UNI Department of Communication Studies.