By Christine Schutt
(Mariner Books, Paperback, 9780156033381, 240pp.)
Publication Date: June 2009
Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover
In 1997, at the distinguished Siddons School on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, the school year opens with distressing news: Astra Dell is suffering from a rare disease. Astra’s friends try to reconcile the girl’s suffering with their own fierce longings and impetuous attachments. Car writes unsparing letters, which the dirty Marlene, in her devotion, then steals. Other classmates carry on: the silly team of Suki and Alex pursue Will Bliss while the subversive Lisa Van de Ven makes dates with MissWilkes. The world of private schools and privilege in New York City is funny, poignant, and cruel, and at its heart is the stricken Astra Dell, "that pale girl from the senior class, the dancer with all the hair, the red hair, knotted or braided or let to fall to her waist, a fever and she consumed."National Book Award finalist Christine Schutt has created a wickedly original tale of innocence, daring, and illness.
CHRISTINE SCHUTT is the author of the short-story collection Nightwork. Her work, which has garnered an O. Henry Prize and a Pushcart Prize, is published widely in literary journals. Schutt lives and teaches in New York City.