Sign up for our free newsletter

Free D.C. news, delivered to your inbox daily.

When it comes to the clichés of modern womanhood, author Rachel Pastan doesn’t so much tell her stories tongue-in-cheek as give her readers a hearty Bronx cheer. Her last novel, This Side of Married, was a witty take on the familiar tale of a mother desperately trying to marry off her daughters. Pastan’s latest, Lady of the Snakes, examines the difficulty of balancing one’s ambitions while maintaining familial bliss. Snakes’ heroine is 25-year-old wife, mother, and Ph.D student Jane Levitsky, who—after making a breakthrough discovery—gets the chance to make a name for herself in academia but may have to make sacrifices on the domestic front. Pastan, herself a teacher at Swarthmore College, intersperses biting depictions of tenured professors and eager Ph.D cohorts with genuine moments of self-discovery. Thinks Jane to herself after the birth of her child: “This is what women’s lives are like.” Pastan discusses and signs copies of her work at 5 p.m. at Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 364-1919.