- Gebundene Ausgabe: 320 Seiten
- Verlag: Doubleday (14. Juni 2011)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 0385530919
- ISBN-13: 978-0385530910
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 14,9 x 2,8 x 21,7 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: Schreiben Sie die erste Bewertung
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 1.446.955 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
The Astral: A Novel (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 14. Juni 2011
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Praise for The Astral:
“A tart, compassionate story of marriage gone wrong.”—O Magazine
“Harry Quirk…makes an unexpectedly irresistible hero in this delicious social satire.”—People
"Engaging…wonderfully drawn. It’s worth noting that Christensen has somehow — again — created a captivatingly believable male narrator, although she can’t see 60 on the horizon, has not been married to a tempestuous Mexican woman for 30 years or published largely ignored poetry in academic journals. (Her previous novel, The Great Man, won the PEN/Faulkner Award.) And yet here she is doing what talented novelists do: creating a voice so rich with the peculiar timbre of lived experience that you feel as though she’s introduced you to a witty, deeply frustrated (and frustrating) new friend."—Ron Charles, The Washington Post
"Christensen...amps up the tension, suspense, and pathos until it feels like the book could ignite in your hands. She’s a spectacular author who’s only beginning to get the attention she so richly deserves, such as the 2008 PEN/Faulkner for The Great Man. Her style is unique in that her work is more based on fascinating and real—maybe too real—characters rather than upon on the same three or four basic plots we’ve seen a million times. And Harry Quirk is one of her greatest creations. (I will admit that I’m also quite partial to Hugo, the creepy hero of The Epicure’s Lament.) Christensen is amazing at capturing male voices and desires, particularly the ones that don’t often get aired outside Philip Roth novels.
I can’t wait to see how Christensen’s work develops over the coming decades. She has the makings of a major American author. Her storytelling derives organically from a firm grasp of characterization and how people work, flaws and all. The Astral, artfully composed and emotionally tender, is evidence of true literary genius."—Andrew Ervin, the Miami Herald
"The book does in fact read like a thriller clothed in beautifully crafted prose."—Holly Cara, Huffington Post
“The best exploration of a middle-aged man’s psyche since Bellow, all the more brilliant for having been written by a woman.”—Bethanne Patrick, Shelf Awareness (starred)
“Brooklyn has long been the muse of novelists. In Kate Christensen’s sixth novel, THE ASTRAL, Greenpoint gets its due. Ah, urban beauty: Christensen gets what’s funny about it, and also what’s disappointing. [Christensen’s] a mischievous writer with a keen eye and ear for comedy, one who sets up precarious scenarios and then lets her characters hash things out."—New York Observer
“With her lead character's name--Harry Quirk--Kate Christensen hands you a road map to her lovely, hilarious, and yeah, OK, quirky new novel, The Astral…. From the precision with which she dissects her characters' foibles to the Brooklyn landscapes she brings to vivid life, Christensen's meditation on marriage is viewed through a poet's eye, and tempered at times with a satirist's soul.”—Veronique de Turenne, Barnes & Noble Review
“[Christensen’s] characters’ ruminations on how the forces of love and deception work in tandem within a relationship are both searing and concise… [She] is a forceful writer whose talent is all over the page. Her prose is visceral and poetic, like being bludgeoned with an exquisitely painted sledgehammer. She is a portrait artist, drawing in miniature, capturing the light within.”—Janelle Brown, the San Francisco Chronicle
A “sharp perceptive novel...Christensen’s The Astral is provoking and at times profoundly moving.” —Associated Press
“Christensen is a gifted novelist who knows how to deliver the goods when it comes to ruefully funny, bittersweet character sketches.”—Christian Science Monitor
"Not once during The Astral did this reader ever feel like the narrative strayed from the vivid, first-person voice of Harry. Another pleasure of this novel is that Christensen manages to shape this itinerant narrative with unexpected tensions and tenderness. By the conclusion, Harry alters his ways, moving outside the familiar grooves of his old life and begins to chart new territory of employment and relationships. Taken altogether, this entertaining novel reads like an ode to Brooklyn and broken marriages, endings and beginnings, and the spaces in between."—S. Kirk Walsh, the Boston Globe
“Christensen's prose is clean and her characters enthralling….[This] novel is a wonderful investigation of the pitfalls that arise in even the longest of marriages, made possible by a shared history absent in shorter unions.”—Robin Vidimos, the Denver Post
“[This] novel, by turns funny sad, and wise, is glittering with insightful and lovely descriptions, and Harry [Quirk] is so far my favorite fictional character of 2011: he’s complicated, stubborn, smart, foolish, vulnerable, and—man oh man—does he feel real.”—Edan Lepucki, The Millions
"Christensen perfectly embodies the voice of a male poet in crisis, Harry Quirk ... [she] is a master at nailing Harry’s antagonizing voice, and her protagonist does not disappoint. Readers will be sucked into extremely realistic familial dramas while Christensen perfectly captures her Brooklyn backdrop—from dive bars to hipsters drinking overpriced coffee in trendy cafes. With acute perception and witty humor, this bittersweet novel moves along at a tremendous pace, entertaining until its climactic final scene."—Megan Fishman, Bookpage
"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."—Publisher's Weekly (starred)
"Christensen (Trouble, 2009, etc.) knows her way around aging characters. Having won the PEN/Faulkner Award for her lively septuagenarians in The Great Man (2007), she now creates a charmingly ribald bohemian poet flailing about in late middle age.
The title refers to the apartment building where Harry Quirk and his wife Luz, a devoutly Catholic Mexican nurse, have lived in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, for all of their 30-year marriage. Now Luz has kicked Harry out and burnt his latest manuscript of poetry—eschewing popular trends, he writes in rhyme and meter—because she thinks his love poems are proof that he’s been carrying on an affair with his friend Marion. Righteously claiming the poems are written to an imaginary woman, he fights hard to convince Luz of his fidelity and win her back. Meanwhile, he hangs out in his Greenpoint neighborhood, finds work at a Hasidic lumberyard where he’s the only non-Jew, drinks at his local bars, visits Marion and discusses why they have never been and never will be lovers and moves from living space to living space until he ends up staying with his daughter Karina, a 25-year-old vegan dumpster-diving activist. He and Karina make visits to Karina’s older brother Hector, always Luz’s favorite, who has abandoned her Catholicism and joined a Christian cult led by a sexy charlatan who plans to marry Hector. While Harry wanders through his days, drinking, conversing, picking fights, trying to talk to Luz, who says she wants a divorce and won’t see him, his Brooklyn world of aging bohemians comes vividly to life. There’s not a lot of active plot here, but each minor character is a gem. As for Harry, by the time he faces the truth about his marriage and finds a measure of hard-earned happiness, or at least self-awareness, he has won the reader’s heart. He’s a larger-than-life, endearing fool.
A masterpiece of comedy and angst. Think Gulley Jimson of Joyce Cary’s The Horses Mouth transported from 1930s London to present-day Brooklyn."—Kirkus Reviews (starred)
Praise for Kate Christensen:
“Christensen is the kind of writer who’s willing to say things most people don’t dare to. And she knows exactly how to say them.”
“[Her] characters are marvelously realized, and when Christensen’s on a roll, her wit is irresistible.”
“Christensen’s writing is clear-eyed, bitingly funny, and supremely caustic about the niceties of social relations, contemporary American culture, and sexual...
Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende
KATE CHRISTENSEN is the author of five previous novels, most recently Trouble. The Great Man won the 2008 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. She has written reviews and essays for numerous publications, most recently the New York Times Book Review, Bookforum, Tin House, Elle, and Open City. She lives in New York City.Alle Produktbeschreibungen
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Harry Quirk was well into the long slow spiral downward, his life finally being exposed as being held together by the good will of others. I was certain that he and I would find out what he was truly made up of and be granted a glimpse into the dark soul of fellow travelers but instead, Ms Christensen shied away from Harry's dark night of the soul. Instead, the usual suspects, rich friends and good natured, good looking accessible women rescued him from himself and his rightfully earned fate and thus deprived Harry and his readers from any sort of change whatsoever. So disappointing considering the tour de force of The Great Man.
However, the clever lines, brilliantly drawn characters and original descriptions make this a pleasurable read nonetheless. In many ways this sets the bar higher. This novel reads like the last obligatory novel in a hated publishing contract. Now on to The Epicure's Lament!
Harry Quirk is a poet in his early 50s who had once experienced some acclaim for his work, but his style is now considered outdated. One morning his wife, Luz, a fiercely passionate and paranoid woman, accuses him of having a long-time affair with his oldest friend, Marion, and she throws him out of their Brooklyn apartment, destroying his latest work, love sonnets to imaginary women. No matter what anyone tells Luz, she clings to the idea that Harry has been unfaithful, and reinvents every encounter he had with Marion as proof of his affair. Locked out of his apartment, his work destroyed, Harry briefly stays at a flophouse before moving from place to place, and finds a job at a lumberyard run by Hasidic Jews. As he tries repeatedly to convince an unpersuadable Luz about his innocence, he tries living a normal life, although for Harry, that includes drinking to excess in his neighborhood bar, talking with Marion about why their relationship never moved beyond friendship, and trying to rescue his son, Hector, from the religious cult he has joined, one that believes he is the second coming of the Messiah.
Kate Christensen did a phenomenal job with this book. While I didn't enjoy Luz's character at all and wondered why Harry would fight so hard to keep a marriage that often sounded so challenging, the other characters in this book were so vivid and rich, and I enjoyed spending time with them. Christensen is a terrific writer (although, admittedly, I've never read any of her previous novels) and I found myself really invested in Harry's story. I've said before that a great book is one where you wonder about what happens to the characters once you've finished reading. That was definitely the case with The Astral. It may sneak up on you while you're reading it, but you'll definitely enjoy it.
Harry was once a somewhat well-known poet, teaching poetry workshops and writing his lyrical poems in rhyming and sonnet style. His publisher and mentor has moved to Europe and his style is now out of favor in the United States. His wife, Luz, decides after thirty years of marriage that Harry is having an affair with his best friend, Marion. Despite Harry's pleading innocence - and he is innocent - Luz does not believe him and she kicks him out of their apartment in the Astral. It is true that Harry did have an affair twelve years ago with a young poetry student, but since that time he has been true to Luz.
Now homeless and without a job, Harry gets a room in a local flophouse and spends his days drinking at a local watering hole named Maureen's. He finally lands a job at a Hasidic lumber yard through his crack-smoking Hasidic musician friend, Yanti. Here Harry works in accounts payable and is able to rent a one room apartment in the Astral. He figures that if he lives in the Astral, he'll be closer to Luz and better able to keep an eye on her comings and goings. He is unable to accept that things are over with Luz and he is determined to win her back.
Harry's daughter, Karina. is a freegan - she believes in getting all of her possessions for free. She gathers discarded things from the curbside, dumpster dives and goes to supermarket and restaurant trash bins to pick up food. She is very clear that the food she picks up consists only of tossed items with expired dates or unused edibles
Harry's son, Hector, is living on a commune and mired in a cult called Children of Hashem. They believe that the Messiah will be coming soon or is already here. Hector is being groomed as the new messiah and also is preparing to marry Christa, the cult's leader. Karina and Harry want to do an intervention, hoping to get Hector out of the cult.
This is, in its way, a parody of today's life and also a mirror of what is going on within a certain group of people. These people all live in a little area in Brooklyn and have been friends since the 1970's. Despite Brooklyn being in New York City, this neighborhood is its own little enclave with everyone gossiping about everyone else. The friends are all interconnected, to the point of all of them seeing the same therapist. The novel makes a big deal of this and the unethical practice of Helen, the therapist they share.
The novel reminded me of what Zoe Heller does so well in her writing and what Christensen tries hard to accomplish but doesn't quite succeed in pulling off. The parody comes off as stilted and without subtlety. For good parody to work, the reader must be able to see him or herself, or someone they can identify with, in the characters or culture. This doesn't happen here. The characters are very black and white without hues of gray. For instance, Harry is a complete atheist and Hector and Luz are absolute believers. Things are described as either right or wrong. Luz is a moralistic bully while Harry is a moderate and giving guy. There is a lot of repetition of subject matter as if the author is not sure that the reader remembers what has transpired earlier.
Despite its flaws, Christensen can draw a good description and give frailty to the characters she creates. There is pathos, narcissism, stupidity, and a distinct humor to some of the characters and their situations. Though the book didn't work for me as well as I'd have hoped, I think that a lot of readers would appreciate it more than I did.
I am a fan of Christensen's and loved Trouble and The Epicure's Lament. I continue to look forward to her writings.