Synopses & Reviews
During the last year of the 20th century, 18-year-old Adam Westman finds himself “on the verge of manhood,” as his best friend Dart likes to say. He lives in the exact center of center-less Los Angeles with his depressed father, Greg, and imaginative younger sister, Sandra. When Greg suddenly dies, more than everything changes and the relatively smooth orbits of family and friends are altered when Adam needs them most. In the middle of the drama, a man in uniform appears—and he is more than interested in Adam. This man, a policeman, is warm, witty and wise. He is 6 foot-something, dirty blond, and . . . well, he’s a California Boy trapped inside the body of a 38 year-old man. But how can Adam consider the possibility of a relationship when he is dealing with his father’s death, his friends’ (and his own) pre-pre-pre mid-life crises, his mother’s ambivalence, and his little sister’s need for him? Then again, how can he not?
Half-Life is about being—or at least feeling—young and old at the same time. About loving, or wanting to love, but knowing that life and love are both as exuberant and seductive yet two-dimensional and illusory as a billboard along any of Los Angeles’s endless freeways.
Aaron Krach has written for Time Out New York, Out magazine, InStyle, thePosition.com, CBSHealthwatch.com, The Independent Film and Video Monthly, TVTS, Oui, DOX: International Documentary Film, indieWIRE, A&U magazine Instinct, HX, The Villager, Downtown Express, and TWN (Florida). The former editor of Empire Magazine and arts editor of Gay City News, he is now the senior editor of Cargo magazine. He lives in New York City. Half-Life is his first novel.
The geography of 18 year-old Adam Westman's life changes dramatically in the two weeks before his high school graduation. True, many of the familiar landmarks are still there when he looks for them: his best friend Dart riding shotgun; the suburban house where he lives with his depressed dad and younger sister, Sandra; the on-ramps and off-ramps that connect his hometown of Angelito to Los Angeles's endless maze of freeways. But when death and love arrive at once and unexpectedlyas they often doAdam learns that trouble sometimes has to rumble through a tidy world in order to make room for miracles.
Which isn't to say that miracles are such a big deal. For the characters whose lives intersect in Half-Life, the miraculous appears in the jumble of everyday details. Adam's emotionally distant mother finds herself drawn into the arc of family through the simple act of making a salad. Marc, Adam's stepdad, learns the subtle art of conversation as he shuttles Sandra to and from elementary school. Jeff, a handsome cop, decides to take a risk and discovers in 18-year-old Adam the kind of openness and sincerity he thought other men no longer wanted. In a book Edmund White calls "funny, romantic, surprising, lusty, and totally original,"debut novelist Aaron Krach draws our attention to the ever-present possibilities for connection and the magic that makes ordinary lives extraordinary.
Basically: Half-Life has three stories that connect, overlap and slide by each other quietly. The first is the story of a group of friends, perhaps the best friends you wish you always had in high school. The second is about a man and his son, and what happens when love and hope run out. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, is a story of new romance between Adam and the older man in uniform that is not coming to his rescue.
A novel about learning to take risks, depending on your friends, believing in yourself and creating your own life by your own rules.
About the Author
Aaron Krach has written for Time Out New York, Out magazine, InStyle, thePosition.com, CBSHealthwatch.com, The Independent Film and Video Monthly, TVTS, Oui, DOX: International Documentary Film, indieWIRE, A&U magazine, Instinct, HX, The Villager and Downtown Express, and TWN (Florida). The former editor of Empire Magazine, and arts editor of Gay City News, he is now the senior editor of Cargo magazine. He lives in New York City. Half Life is his first novel.