Lissa Soep Shares Her New Book "Other People's Words"


Join us  on Wednesday April 17th at 7pm when LISSA SOEP comes to the store to read from, discuss, and sign copies of her new book Other People's Words: Friendship, Loss, and the Conversations That Never End. Lissa, senior editor for audio at Vox Media, has written a deeply moving read that is an original life-affirming take on grief.

Other People’s Words is one of those books that changes you forever. Now I can hear the ‘double voicing’ in my own life: the ways the language of my past—of dear friends and family--has fused into and shapes the language of my present; how it keeps people I have lost with me always.”—Peggy Orenstein

This is a free event, but you must preregister on Eventbrite or in the store to ensure seating. Click Here to preorder a copy of Other People's Words.

What if the great love of your life is friendship?

In their twenties, Lissa Soep and her boyfriend forged deep friendships with two other couples—Mercy and Christine; and Emily and Jonnie—until, decades later, Jonnie died suddenly, in an accident, and Christine passed away after a mysterious illness. Christine had been a writer, Jonnie a storyteller. Lissa couldn’t imagine a world without their letters, postcards, texts—a world without their voices. Then she found comfort in a surprising place. As a graduate student, she had studied the philosophy of the Russian critic Mikhail Bakhtin, who wrote about the many voices that can echo through a single person’s speech. Suddenly, Bakhtin’s theory that our language is “filled to overflowing with other people’s words” came to life. Lissa began hearing Jonnie and Christine when least expected. In a conversation with Emily, a familiar phrase was spoken, and suddenly, there was Jonnie, with his riotous laugh, vibrant in her mind. Mercy recited an Adrienne Rich poem in just the way Christine used to and, for a moment, Christine was with them in the room.

Other People’s Words shows us how we carry within us the language of loved ones who are gone, and how their words can be portals to other times and places. Language—as with love—is boundless, and Other People’s Words is an intimate, original, and profoundly generous look at its power to nurture life amid the wreckage of grief. Dialogues do not end when a friendship or person is gone; instead, they accrue new layers of meaning, showing how the conversations we share with those we love continue after them, and will continue after us.

“A moving meditation on the role of language in mitigating grief and loss.”—Amy Fusselman, author of Savage Park

LISSA SOEP is senior editor for audio at Vox Media and special projects producer and senior scholar-in-residence at YR Media. She has a PhD from Stanford, where she studied education, social theory, and linguistic anthropology with leading Bakhtin scholars. She lives in San Francisco.

THIS EVENT is free but pre-registration is requested. Registration ends at 5:30 pm on April 17th.

BECAUSE SEATING is limited, please register only if you plan to attend.

DUE TO SPACE limitations, we may not be able to accommodate every person at an event, so early registration is encouraged.

WALK-INS will be accommodated only if space allows.

WE ASK that attendees arrive between 6:45 and 7:00 PM for the event.

PLEASE leave your non-support companion animals at home.

OUR shared restrooms are not accessible after 6:30 PM, please plan accordingly.


Wednesday, April 17, 2024 - 7:00pm to 8:30pm
Event address: 
Mrs. Dalloway's Bookstore
2904 College Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94705
Other People's Words: Friendship, Loss, and the Conversations That Never End By Lissa Soep Cover Image
ISBN: 9781954118355
Availability: Most titles are on our shelves or available within 1-5 days.
Published: Spiegel & Grau - April 16th, 2024