Living Well in Litchfield County, Connecticut

The Price of Love
February 17, 2024

The Price of Love

On Saturday, February 17, at 4 pm, the Cornwall CT Library presents star novelist and biographer Roxana Robinson in conversation with star publisher and editor-in-chief Gillian Blake. The subject is Roxana’s latest novel Leaving, which is one of the Oprah Daily Most Anticipated Books of 2024 and already attracting raves:

“Elegantly structured and written, shimmering with feeling and truth. A triumph.”
—Kirkus Reviews, starred

“What does love demand of us, and who must pay the price? Leaving is a searing interrogation of honor and passion. It dissects the hidden cost of the choices we make, and the consequences with which we must endeavor to live.”
—Geraldine Brooks, author of Horse

“Leaving is a passionate portrait of marriages, of parenthood (early and late), and the tectonic shifts of family life. Roxana Robinson brings her wit, her beautiful sentences, and her compassionate clarity to this book about the price of love and the enduring need for it. ”
—Amy Bloom, author of In Love

Late 1960s. Two high school seniors—Sarah and Warren—fall in love thinking it will last. Sarah, constricted by rules and guarded emotions, adores Warren’s confidence, adventurousness, and unconventional style. They are a lesson in chemistry. After graduating, the two attend different colleges and their romance dims. Diminished by calls from dormitory phone booths and differing views on their future, Sarah calls Warren to end the relationship.

Flash-forward forty years: Sarah and Warren meet unexpectedly on the grand staircase at the Metropolitan Opera House in Manhattan. The chemistry is still there. Reuniting seems a foregone conclusion, despite their familial circumstances (Warren is married, Sarah divorced). What they don’t predict is how disruptive and wrenching their “second chance” will be.

Roxana Robinson’s Leaving: A Novel begins with a chance meeting at Puccini’s Tosca that escalates into a riveting love affair.
“I never thought I’d see you here,” Sarah says in the opening scene of Leaving, when she encounters Warren on the opera house’s red-carpeted staircase. Warren replies, “I always thought I’d see you somewhere.” Immediately, the complications and consequences of their affair become apparent. Their children object to their relationship. Months later, when Warren asks his wife for a divorce, she refuses to give him one. As Leaving builds to a shattering conclusion, Warren is forced to make decisions that lay bare the complexity of marriage and parenting as well as the tectonic shifts of family life. Ultimately, his affair with Sarah begs the question, “What does love require and who must pay the price?”

Leaving is an indelible story about the moral demands and responsibilities of love. With sparkling prose and deep understanding, Robinson illuminates the currents between desire and loyalty and how, as Joan Silber says, “broken conventions lead to menace and threat.”

Roxana Robinson is the author of seven novels, three collections of short stories, and the biography of Georgia O’Keeffe. Four of her books have been named Notable Books of the Year by The New York Times. Sparta was named one of the Top Ten Books of the Year by the BBC. Cost was named one of the Five Best Fiction Books of the Year by The Washington Post and was shortlisted for the prestigious Dublin Impac Award.

Gillian Blake, SVP, is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief at Crown, a division of Penguin Random House. She has edited many bestsellers, including Elizabeth Kolbert’s Pulitzer Prize-winning The Sixth Extinction, Michelle Obama’s The Light We Carry, Rachel Maddow’s Prequel, Tina Brown’s The Palace Papers and Matthew McConaughey’s Greenlights.

Leaving is published by Norton. 344 pages. $28.99. Available for sale and autograph at the library event.

Attend in-person only at 30 Pine Street, Cornwall, CT 06753. Free registration required:

The Cornwall Library
30 Pine Street
Cornwall, CT 06753


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