The Sky Below

Stacey D'Erasmo, Author
Stacey D'Erasmo, Author . Houghton Mifflin $24 (271p) ISBN 978-0-618-43925-6
Reviewed on: 08/18/2008
Release date: 01/01/2009

A luminous novel crafted in meticulous detail with shimmering language, D'Erasmo's third book tells the story of Gabriel Callahan's life, beginning with his father's abandonment when Gabriel was a child and tracing his ambivalent search for wholeness through adolescence and into adulthood. An obituary writer for a “half-assed tourist newspaper” in post-9/11 Manhattan, Gabriel is also an artist, creating still lifes from found and stolen objects. Gabriel's lover, Janos, a wealthy financier, hopes that Gabriel will abandon his marginal life and move in with him, but Gabriel steadfastly refuses, even when a health crisis threatens to undo him. An impulsive trip to Mexico leads him to a hardscrabble commune where he finds a belated clarity. The descriptions of Gabriel's artwork and his daily struggles comprise a dizzying trip through metaphor and expression, the undisputed centerpiece of which is the dazzling, complicated narration in vivid prose. This is a demanding and immensely satisfying novel, and certainly one of the better New York artist novels in recent memory. (Jan.)

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