The Sky Below
By Stacey D'Erasmo
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Hardcover, 9780618439256, 288pp.)
Publication Date: January 2009
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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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.
STACEY D’ERASMO is the author of the novels Tea, a New York Times Notable Book, and A Seahorse Year, a San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of the Year and a Lambda Literary Award winner. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, the New York Times Book Review, and Ploughshares. A recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in Fiction, she is currently an assistant professor of writing at Columbia University. She lives in New York.
- 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?
"In her conceptually brilliant, imaginative, brimming and suspenseful novel, her evocations of place are ravishing; her characters are at once richly human and magical, and their confounding predicaments are both commonplace and cosmic." --Los Angeles Times
" ...studded throughout are ringingly memorable lines, ones that make you see, hear, feel." --Boston Globe
"A beautifully written compilation of the small, strange specificities that make us each uniquely human." --Margot Kaminski, San Francisco Chronicle
"D’Erasmo’s most complex and accomplished character to date...Gabriel’s voice is irresistible." --New York Times Book Review (cover review)
"Intricately imagined and economically told, D'Erasmo's riddling third novel made me want to start over as soon as I reached the last page." --Bloomberg News
"THE SKY BELOW gathers narrative force as Gabe's tale becomes stranger, and as the cruel mingles with the tender in a way that startles and abrades. Cather, I think, would have been shocked and intrigued by this accomplished book." -- The Plain Dealer (Cleveland)
"D'Erasmo writes beautifully, her sentences urgent, whispery, holding their breath as Gabe does, waiting for magic." --The Star-Tribune (Minneapolis)
"Part magical realism and part acid trip, The Sky Below is the stuff that dreams are made of." --Zink Magazine
"Rich in detail, with expertly spun sentences, this is a novel for connoisseurs of words." --Elle
"After two earlier, likable efforts, D'Erasmo moves to the top of her craft with THE SKY BELOW --She is an expert at listening to human nature." --Town & Country
"Stacey D'Erasmo has made a name for herself as a serious prose artist who describes tilted people with a level gaze." -- Newsday
"Gabe’s story is both plausible and fantastic; even when reality is stretched thread-thin, it’s engaging, thanks to Stacey D’Erasmo’s prose, which manages to be both elegant and economical." -- New York Observer
"Hard-nosed but lyrical, unsentimental but moving, mythical but modern, The Sky Below is a precisely calibrated balancing act. It tells the story of a man who must stop living in a fantasy world, yet it never loses touch with the value of art and magic." -- Time Out New York
"…could be her breakthrough, a book that moves back and forth between the real world and the elaborate layers of its characters' inner life." -- Los Angeles Times
"...you can feel D’Erasmo’s maturity and intelligence in this textured and vivid portrait of contemporary life." -- The Advocate
"...full of brilliant, uncanny elements that intersect in ways both puzzling and true." --Bookforum
Not about dissolution but redemption -- a revolutionary concept...The Sky Below could be [D''Erasmo''s] breakthrough, a book that moves back and forth between the real world and the elaborate layers of its characters'' inner life.
A beautifully written compilation of the small, strange specificities that make us each uniquely human...D''Erasmo''s fluidity of writing style amplifies credibility and cohesiveness. There''s no question that she can write, and that is ultimately what lets "The Sky Below" do as much as it does