Helen Zuman, whose book "Mating in Captivity" offers an intimate look at a transformative cult journey, will read from and talk about her memoir Friday, Sept. 7, at 2 p.m. at the downtown Camden Public Library.

When as a recent Harvard grad Zuman moved to Zendik Farm in 1999, she was thrilled to discover that the Zendiks used go-betweens to arrange sexual assignations — “dates” — in cozy shacks just big enough for a double bed and a nightstand. Here, it seemed, she could learn an honest version of the mating dance and form a union free of “death culture” lies. But no one spoke the truth: Arol, the farm’s matriarch, crushed any love that threatened her hold on her followers’ hearts. "Mating in Captivity" shows how stories can trap us and free us, how miracles rise out of crisis … and how coercion feeds on forsaken self-trust.

Zuman will talk about the 12-year process of writing the book and bringing it to readers, and offer some context for cults — what they are, why they matter, how they interact with the wider culture and how her understanding of the cult pattern has changed in the decade-plus since she first discovered it.

Books will be available for sale after the talk and Q&A. To experience Zendik and its aftermath from a different angle, the public is invited to come to the Camden Amphitheatre at 6 p.m. for a performance by fellow ex-Zendiks Kyra Gordon and Gabriel Zacchai (which will also include a brief reading from “Mating in Captivity”). The Zendik Reunion Tour performance will go on rain or shine, as a tent will provide shelter; see the story linked below.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.