The Sky Below

By Stacey D'Erasmo
(Mariner Books, Paperback, 9780547336275, 271pp.)

Publication Date: April 2010

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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 himto 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 whotested by a world that is often too much for himrises to meet the challenge.

About the Author
STACEY D'ERASMO is a recipient of Guggenheim and Stegner Fellowships, the author of three previous novels and a book of nonfiction. Her work has also appeared in "The" New York Times (Magazine and Book Review), "Bookforum", and "Ploughshares", among others. She teaches in Columbia University's MFA program.

Conversation Starters from


  1. Throughout the novel, Gabriel begins several chapters with a variation of “When did I first stumble into the wrong grove?” Where does this metaphor come from, and what meaning does it have for Gabriel?

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