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The Sky Belowby Stacey D'Erasmo
"Beginning with her first novel, Tea (2000), in which a young woman fascinated by ancient Rome turns to the theater to try to understand her mother's suicide, D'Erasmo has channeled the archetypal emotions of classic tragedy into fiction of sublime precision and inventiveness. In A Seahorse Year (2004), winner of the Lambda Literary Award, a missing schizophrenic 16-year-old is the catalyst for a complex and insightful tale about nature and nurture, homosexuality and parenthood. In her third book, she imagines a son's quest for his father. An acutely visual writer, D'Erasmo is also keenly aware of the repercussions of our habit of storytelling, the divide between the stories we tell ourselves and the stories others tell about us as well as the contradictory tales we tell about the divine." Donna Seaman, Los Angeles Times (read the entire Los Angeles Times review)
Synopses & Reviews
From a rising literary star in the tradition of Carol Shields and A. S. Byatt comes this luminous story of a contemporary man's metamorphosis.
Andrea Barrett and Michael Cunningham have lauded Stacey D'Erasmo for the beauty of her language and her ability to create worlds that leave a lasting impression. In her new novel, D'Erasmo reaches back to Ovid for inspiration in this tale of how the mythic animates our everyday lives. At thirty-seven, Gabriel Collins works halfheartedly as an obituary writer at a fading newspaper in lower Manhattan, which, since 9/11, feels like a city of the dead. This once dreamy and appealing boy has turned from a rebellious adolescent to an adult who trades in petty crimes.His wealthy, older boyfriend is indulgent of him — to a point. But after a brush with his own mortality, Gabriel must flee to Mexico in order to put himself back together. By novel's end, we know all of Gabriel's ratty little secrets, but by dint of D'Erasmo's spectacular writing, we exult in the story of an imperfect man who — tested by a world that is often too much for him — rises to meet the challenge.
"[A] long, strange trip laced with literary allusions and rendered in prose at once pristine and hallucinatory." Booklist
"The Sky Below is a wonder of a story. It follows the eternally changing nature of truth in vital language. Every word counts and the next page is always full of surprises. It reminded this reader of Voltaire's Candide in its imaginative verve, its beauty and its awareness of contradictions in human lives." Paula Fox, author of Desperate Characters
"Vibrant and precise...memorable not so much for its individual phrases (though plenty are exquisite) as for its overall sense of immersion into a distinctive world." New York Times
"D'Erasmo writes a hyperkinetic, highly lyricized prose that's in turn mind-blowing and occasionally exhausting." Boston Globe
"[A] conceptually brilliant, imaginative, brimming and suspenseful novel." Los Angeles Times
"[A] mesmerizing, gritty and exceedingly modern variation on ancient themes." Cleveland Plain Dealer
About the Author
Stacey D'Erasmo is the author of the novels Tea, (a New York Times Notable Book of the Year); and A Seahorse Year, which was named a Best Book of the Year by the San Francisco Chronicle and Newsday, and won a Lambda Literary Award. She was a Stegner Fellow in Fiction from 1995-1997. Her essays, features, and reviews have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, the New York Times Book Review, and Ploughshares. She is currently an assistant professor of writing at Columbia University.
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