Ten Thousand Saints

Eleanor Henderson, Author
Eleanor Henderson, Ecco, $26.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-06-202102-1
Reviewed on: 02/07/2011
Release date: 06/01/2011
Paperback - 390 pages - 978-0-06-202121-2
Ebook - 400 pages - 978-1-78087-218-6
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-207279-5
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-207284-9
Paperback - 388 pages - 978-1-78087-217-9
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4618-3225-6
Ebook - 416 pages - 978-0-06-209215-1
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Henderson debuts with a coming-of-age story set in the 1980s that departs from the genre's familiar tropes to find a panoramic view of how the imperfect escape from our parents' mistakes makes (equally imperfect) adults of us. Jude Keffy-Horn and Teddy McNicholas are drug-addled adolescents stuck in suburban Vermont and dreaming of an escape to New York City. But after Teddy dies of an overdose, Jude makes good on their dream and forms a de facto family with Teddy's straight-edge brother, Johnny; Jude's estranged pot-farmer father, Lester; and the troubled Eliza Urbanski, who may be carrying Teddy's child. What results is an odyssey encompassing the age of CBGB, Hare Krishnas, zines, and the emergence of AIDS. Henderson is careful, amid all this youthy nostalgia, not to sideline the adults, who look upon the changing fashions with varying levels of engagement. Still, the narrative occasionally teeters into a didactic, researched tone that may put off readers to whom the milieu isn't new—but the commitment to its characters and jettisoning of hayseed-in-the-city cliché distinguish a nervy voice adept at etching the outlines of a generation, its prejudices and pandemics, and the idols killed along the way. (June)
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