The Realm of Last Chances
By Steve Yarbrough
(Vintage, Paperback, 9780345804884, 288pp.)
Publication Date: May 6, 2014
Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover
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A Washington Post Notable Book
When Kristin Stevens loses her job at a prestigious California university, she and her husband, Cal, relocate to suburban Massachusetts, where Kristin is forced to take a position at a third-tier college. She becomes entangled in the internal politics of academia, while Cal spends his days alone, fixing up their new home. Soon, Kristin finds herself drawn to their younger neighbor, first as platonic confidants bound by a love of literature and then, inevitably, as something more. In The Realm of Last Chances, Steve Yarbrough gives us a richly nuanced portrait of relationships, loneliness, and a marriage, reinvented.
Born in Indianola, Mississippi, Steve Yarbrough is the author of five previous novels and three collections of stories. A PEN/Faulkner finalist, he has received the Mississippi Authors Award, the California Book Award, the Richard Wright Award, and another prize from the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters. He teaches at Emerson College and lives with his wife in Stoneham, Massachusetts.
“Inspires the kind of wonder and elation one feels in the hands of a gifted writer. . . . [It] turns a light on the kind of lives that so often go unremarked, suffusing them with compassion, empathy and rare beauty.”
—The Washington Post
“Yarbrough allows the opening and closing of chasms between [his characters] the proper space and time to develop, thus allowing them the chance to achieve maximum resonance.”
—The Boston Globe
“An exhilarating, intelligent, beautifully complicated novel. I love how richly peopled it is. . . . Every character has a secret sorrow.”
“Boldly provocative, reflective, witty and wise, and deeply insightful. . . . Steve Yarbrough stands among the first rank of contemporary novelists, and stands alone with the deep compassion and humanity he brings to his characters and their stories. . . . [The Realm of Last Chances] is that rare achievement, a page-turner that also turns pages within the reader.”
“Yarbrough stakes his claim to being much more than a regional writer. The Realm of Last Chances is a fine novel unbound by geography. . . . And he shows us that the real territory of his fiction . . . is not geographical at all, but the unmapped terrain of the heart.”
—The Jackson Clarion-Ledger
“A deeply intelligent and wildly moving story about the many permutations of love, betrayal and redemption.”
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Magnificent. . . . This beautifully written story is the most honest, insightful and, ultimately, affirmative novel about love under great stress that I’ve read in years.”
—Howard Frank Mosher
“Yarbrough spins his words into a web of subtle poignancy. After finishing, you’ll want to read [his] entire backlist (and you should).”