From the small-world accidents of finding lost toys and meeting old friends in strange places, to apparent twists of fate that lead to historical events, people continue to find meaning in coincidence. In Great Pan is Dead, author Eric D. Lehman investigates this phenomenon through the lens of his own mysterious stories and ponders how the puzzles of our lives fit together. From a frightening encounter in England’s Lake District to a moment of transcendence in the Sistine Chapel, this insightful memoir will make you see your world in a startling new way.
Advance Praise for Great Pan is Dead
In love with love, Eric D. Lehman divines meaning in coincidence, friendships and the moment. Great Pan Is Dead: My Encounters With Coincidence excavates Greek myth, revisits teenage romance and ponders the auspicious tidings of a hastily pitched tent.
—Russell Bennetts, founder and editor of Berfrois
Like all great New England writers, Eric Lehman knows that existence is saturated with meaning, and that our lives can be read as a sublime narrative, albeit one where the proper interpretation can allude us. Along the way, however, he invites us to illuminate our story telling in the gentle glow of coincidence, finding a significance in our own stories just beneath the surface.
—Ed Simon, author of America and Other Fictions
Eric D. Lehman’s Great Pan Is Dead is just the kind of reflection we need: It asks big questions rather than providing facile answers, told in a voice that looks back critically and compassionately on his own youth. Lehman offers us stories of humanity’s greatest conundrums, the great wrestling match between agency and fate, random coincidence and divine plan. Lehman is too wise and nuanced a thinker to offer an answer, or even to offer too much in the way of theory. Rather, he tells us his stories. In the end, these stories lead us to a place of healthy uncertainty. So, while perhaps our coincidences derive their meaning largely due to our own desires and the stories we tell around them, our imaginative storytelling capacity, in the end, does give them the meaning we ultimately require. This book is brief but very deep, and well worth the read.
—Theodore Richards, author of The Great Re-Imagining
Eric D. Lehman
Eric D. Lehman teaches creative writing and literature at the University of Bridgeport and his work has been published in dozens of journals and magazines, from Berfrois to Gastronomica. He is the author of twelve books of fiction, history, and travel, including Shadows of Paris, Homegrown Terror, Afoot in Connecticut, The Foundation of Summer, and Becoming Tom Thumb. Follow him on Twitter @afootinconnecticut, and visit his website at www.ericdlehman.org.
isit his website at www.ericdlehman.org.