The Astral

Kate Christensen. Doubleday, $24.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-385-53091-0
Like the rapidly gentrifying Brooklyn of its setting, Christensen's unremittingly wonderful latest (after Trouble) is populated by an odd but captivating mix of characters. At the center is Harry Quirk, a middle-aged poet whose comfortable life is upended one winter day when his wife, Luz, convinced he's having an affair, destroys his notebooks, throws his laptop from the window, and kicks him out. Things, Harry has to admit, are not going well: their idealistic Dumpster-diving daughter, Karina, is lonely and lovelorn, and their son, Hector, is in the grip of a messianic cult. Taking in a much-changed Greenpoint, Brooklyn, while working at a lumberyard and hoping to recover his poetic spark, Harry must come to terms with the demands of starting anew at 57. Astute and unsentimental, at once romantic and wholly rational, Harry is an everyman adrift in a changing world, and as he surveys his failings, Christensen takes a singular, genuine story and blows it up into a smart inquiry into the nature of love and the commitments we make, the promises we do and do not honor, and the people we become as we negotiate the treacherous parameters of marriage and friendship and parenthood. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/11/2011
Release date: 06/01/2011
Hardcover - 202 pages - 978-0-385-53092-7
Hardcover - 501 pages - 978-1-4104-4232-1
MP3 CD - 978-1-61120-346-2
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-307-47335-6
Compact Disc - 978-1-61120-104-8
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-61120-200-7
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