Dirk Wittenborn

As a literary device, pharmaceuticals have been woefully underused. (Has it really been more than 20 years since Don DeLillo’s White Noise?). But Dirk Wittenborn has picked up the pills in Pharmakon (Viking, $25.95). Told from the POV of young Zach Friedrich, the novel follows his father, a Yale psychology professor who accidentally stumbles upon a chemical compound that could provide eternal happiness. It probably goes without saying that things don’t end well for anyone involved. Wittenborn’s own padre was a Yale psychology prof and a pioneer in the field of psychopharmacology, and the author admits that many events in the book are autobiographical—so it may be worth hearing what he’s got to say about the ever-blurry line between fiction and memoir. And since Wittenborn’s background is in scriptwriting (having adapted his own Fierce People to the screen), his book is as briskly paced as a well-plotted TV pilot. Elliott Bay Book Co., 101 S. Main St., 624-6600, www.elliottbaybook.com. Free. 7:30 p.m. ANNA ROTH

Tue., Aug. 19, 7:30 p.m., 2008

 
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