Mona Simpson’s highly anticipated new book, Commitment is a masterful and engrossing novel about a single mother’s collapse and the fate of her family after she enters a California state mental institution for treatment for mental illness in the 1970s.
Moving from Berkeley and Los Angeles to New York and back again, this is a story about one family trying to navigate the crisis of their lives, a mental health crisis that many know first-hand in their own families or in those of their friends and neighbors.
In Commitment, Mona Simpson shows us the conflict between family and duty and the attendant struggles that come when a parent falls ill. Commitment honors the spirit of fragile, imperfect mothers and the under-chronicled significance of friends in determining the lives of our children left on their own.
With Commitment, Mona Simpson, one of the foremost chroniclers of the American family in our time, has written her most important and unforgettable novel.
Elizabeth Bromley, M.D., Ph.D., will join Mona Simpson in conversation.
MONA SIMPSON is the best-selling author of Anywhere But Here, The Lost Father, A Regular Guy, Off Keck Road, My Hollywood, and Casebook. Off Keck Road was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and won the Heartland Prize from the Chicago Tribune. She has received a Whiting Writers’ Award, a Guggenheim fellowship, a Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Writers’ Award, and an award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She is on the faculty at UCLA and also teaches at Bard College. In 2020, she was named publisher of The Paris Review. She lives in Santa Monica, California.
Elizabeth Bromley is Professor in Residence in the Departments of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences and Anthropology. She is a Board-certified psychiatrist, medical anthropologist, and health services researcher. Dr. Bromley received her M.D. and M.A. in the history of medicine from UCSF and her Ph.D. in anthropology from UCLA. Dr. Bromley completed residency and a chief residency in psychiatry at Columbia University and the New York State Psychiatric Institute. Dr. Bromley is a graduate of the VA/UCLA Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program. Dr. Bromley’s clinical and health services research focuses on severe mental illness and partnered implementation in community settings. She has a particular interest in clinician emotional experience and in clinical and research ethics relevant to community mental health contexts.