From the PEN/Faulkner Award–winning author of The Great Man, a scintillating novel of love, loss, and literary rivalry set in rapidly changing Brooklyn.
The Astral is a huge rose-colored old pile of an apartment building in the gentrifying neighborhood of Greenpoint, Brooklyn. For decades it was the happy home (or so he thought) of the poet Harry Quirk and his wife, Luz, a nurse, and of their two children: Karina, now a fervent freegan, and Hector, now in the clutches of a cultish Christian community. But Luz has found (and destroyed) some poems of Harry’s that ignite her long-simmering suspicions of infidelity, and he’s been summarily kicked out. He now has to reckon with the consequence of his literary, marital, financial, and parental failures (and perhaps others) and find his way forward—and back into Luz’s good graces.
Harry Quirk is, in short, a loser, living small and low in the water. But touched by Kate Christensen’s novelistic grace and acute perception, his floundering attempts to reach higher ground and forge a new life for himself become funny, bittersweet, and terrifically moving. She knows what secrets lurk in the hearts of men—and she turns them into literary art of the highest order.
My take: This is a poetic book. The descriptions and story are written with such prose that the reader (at least this reader) feels as if she is examining previous understood aspects of life in a new light. It is a book about aging and the deconstruction of marriage and family. I found myself immersed but exhausted like reading a new language but one I understood much too well. Very well written book.
Thanks to Doubleday, I have two copies up for grabs.