Synopses & Reviews
Jeremy Thrane seems to have everything. As the long-time boyfriend of the handsome (but deeply closeted) movie star Ted Masterson, he lives rent-free in a beautiful apartment on the top floor of Ted's Manhattan brownstone and has an easy job that gives him plenty of time to read books and write his novel. When an influential gossip columnist overhears Jeremy talking about Ted, Jeremy's perfect world begins to crumble: in just a few hours Ted asks him to leave. Although Ted says he needs to spend more time with his wife and daughter, Jeremy suspects another man is involved.
With little more than his books, his sprawling manuscript, and his fickle little bird Juanita, Jeremy finds that he needs to re-connect with the eccentric family whose love he has taken for granted, and determine which of his friends have his true well-being in mind. In a dizzying world of art galleries, rock clubs, trendy restaurants, casual sex, dry wit, and drier martinis, Jeremy Thrane must finally figure out what it means to grow up and fall in love.
"[A] knockout....Chistensen's sumptuous prose is both wicked and wise, resulting in a smart, sassy urban tale. Her wit is as acerbic as ever, but the laugh-out-loud humor of her first novel has been exchanged for something darker and more provocative." Publishers Weekly
"A spirited take on the oft-told tale of a life falling apart...witty, humane, romantic, and just gossipy enough to keep you flipping pages....Fun? Immensely. As a chronicler of hip urban travails, Christensen is first-rate." Kirkus Reviews
"[C]ompelling, keenly observed....The genre of gay male fiction often serves up amusing but shallow stereotypes, but in this insightful, beautifully written novel, Christensen has created a unique, fully formed, and flawed but likable man." James Klise, Booklist
"Christensen unveils hidden sides of New York City and humanity with passionate, witty prose." Glamour
"Kate Christensen paints a convincing portrait of a sensitive, modern Manhattanite." The New York Times Book Review
"As a contemporary Pilgrim's Progress, Jeremy Thrane is satisfyingly wayward and modern...light, densely populated and full of good will." Newsday
"Christensen knows how to capture singlehood in the little things, like listening, with longing and satisfied remove, to your new roommate and his lover chatting. Details like these will keep you hooked." Mademoiselle
"Wit and humor grace this second novel by Christensen....Christensen's characters are well realized, displayed on the bright stage of New York City; savvy readers will recognize places, scenes, and literary figures." Library Journal
About the Author
Kate Christensen lives in Brooklyn, New York. Her other novels are In the Drink and The Epicure's Lament.
Q&A with Kate Christensen author of JEREMY THRANE
Q: What is your background?
A: I grew up in California and Arizona, and received a B.A. in English from Reed College and an MFA in fiction from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. My first novel, IN THE DRINK, was published in May, 1999 and my second, JEREMY THRANE, will be published in August 2001. I live in Brooklyn and I'm a full-time writer.
Q: Where did the idea for JEREMY THRANE come from?
A: I had decided, shortly before In The Drink came out, to write a novel about a woman who tries to rescue her younger sister from a cult. It was the book I thought I ought to write next,—serious, earnest, "literary" with a plot. By the time I had written 125 pages, I had begun to suspect that this book was as dull to read as it was to write. Still, I was determined to grit my teeth, finish the thing and hope for the best. I kept plugging away at it.
Then, one night as I was lying awake worrying about how the hell I was going to send a jolt of electricity through this moribund thing, a character came to me—from where I have no idea. It was the image of a gay man with his arms outstretched standing in a loft high above Manhattan, looking down at the lights of the city. Immediately I felt a flash of excitement and purpose, even though I had no idea who this person was or what he was doing in my mind or what his situation was or what he wanted with me. I put the other novel away and let my imagination do some groundwork for a while. Then one day in September , after In The Drink had been out for a few months and I'd calmed down enough to concentrate again, I went to my studio, turned on my computer and saw Jeremy on the Staten Island Ferry after his one-night stand with Frankie. I typed the words, "I stood alone at the front of the boat. The deck sloped away from me, running with dew." Jeremy's voice and the narrative engaged like meshing gears.
Q: How long did it take you to write JEREMY THRANE?
A: This book was the most purely intuitive thing I've ever written; I'd never written anything so quickly before. I hardly thought about it or planned it, I just let Jeremy's voice emerge, and let myself go wherever it took me. The words came as fast as I could type them. I have a hard time being analytical or objective about this book—it feels like the result of listening to my gut, letting my intuition be my guide and not allowing myself to question it too much. I showed up at my studio every day, pretty nearly seven days a week, until it was finished. I began it in September 1999 and finished the final draft on Christmas Eve, 2000.
Q: How do you identify with JEREMY THRANE, the character?
A: Obviously, I'm not a gay man. It had never occurred to me to write in the voice of a gay man. What drew me to write about Jeremy initially was that flash of recognition I had when he popped into my mind, an anonymous person, a stranger. All I knew about him was that he was gay, which now that I think about it strikes me as interesting— why that, as his only identifying quality? What really got me in that moment was a sense of his "otherness," his difference from me... My immediate curiosity about him- who was this guy, apart from being a gay man? — was the initial A-HA!! that spurred me to start fleshing him out over time, and finally to write a book from his perspective. I was curious about and intrigued by the idea of inhabiting a gay man's psyche and body for the duration of a first-person narrative, and the prospect of allowing myself the freedom to imagine a world so different from the one I live in, even though it's the same city. As it turned out, Jeremy and I have a lot in common — he sees the world much as an artist might, or a woman for that matter — as an outsider of sorts, observing and analyzing the status quo, constantly aware of his own relation to it, detached but deeply present. The challenging work was in the writing itself, the fleshing out of a character and his world, not in inhabiting a gay man's perspective. Jeremy isn't "representative of gay men" in any way for me (there's no political agenda here, in other words)— he's a solitary individual like the rest of us, someone whose sexuality is only a part of who he is — someone who isn't me, but whom I know well and have come to love.