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Aug 01, 2000
| ISBN 9780385720212
Sep 28, 2011
| ISBN 9780307807373
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Aug 01, 2000 | ISBN 9780385720212
Sep 28, 2011 | ISBN 9780307807373
In this compassionate, wise, and comical debut, Kate Christensen gives an engaging and authentic voice to a new generation of single urban women.Claudia Steiner never intended for her life to become such a disaster. At the age of twenty-nine she finds herself serving as secretary to an insane, aging socialite who barks orders from her toilet, specializes in devastating backhanded remarks, and expects Claudia to ghostwrite her best-selling novels. Her job pays enough to keep her in overpriced cocktails, cabs, and take-out but doesn’t cover the rent on her roach-infested apartment or keep her creditors at bay. Her romantic prospects are no better. She’s hopelessly in love with her best friend, a corporate lawyer who may or may not be gay, and she’s still relentlessly pursued by her ex-lover, a married unpublished epic poet. All Claudia can rely on–aside from her wry sense of humor and her faith in the medicinal properties of whiskey–is a persistent little flame of belief in herself, which gives her the glimmer of a chance for a happy ending.
Combining sly humor with an urban edge, Kate Christensen’s In the Drink tells the story of a resolutely clear-eyed young woman who makes a complete mess of her life, and lives to tell the tale.The novel’s heroine is the smart, pretty, underemployed, and single Claudia Steiner, personal secretary to Genevieve del Castellano, a terrifying, glamorous semi-lunatic who has it in for her for reasons she can’t even begin to fathom. William, her best friend, considers Claudia his pal, his confidante, his sidekick in matters amatory, which would be fine if she weren’t desperately in love with him herself. Further complicating matters is Claudia’s old lover John Threadgill, an unpublished epic poet whose marriage to a Romanian stripper named Rima hasn’t kept him from trying to seduce Claudia at every opportunity.Claudia came to New York City fresh out of college, buoyed along by her dream of becoming a journalist. But her starry-eyed notion of Claudia Steiner, Reporter on the Beat, quickly vanished into the ozone when she couldn’t muster the requisite hard-bitten, white-hot urgency, the chain-smoking, the yelling, and the cutthroat story-mongering. Now, at the age of twenty-nine, she finds herself adrift in the city, careening dangerously from catastrophe to catastrophe. Desperately trying to keep her head above water, Claudia has little to rely on but a wry sense of humor, a keen appreciation of the medicinal properties of whiskey, and something more subtle–a persistent little flame of belief in herself, which makes a happy ending seem possible even in this most unforgiving of cities.Hilarious, compassionate, and keenly observed, In the Drink is the enormously entertaining debut of a startlingly talented young writer.BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Kate Christensen’s Blue Plate Special.
Kate Christensen is the author of six prior novels, most recently The Astral, and the memoir Blue Plate Special. The Great Man won the 2008 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. She has written reviews and essays for numerous publications, including The… More about Kate Christensen
"At a time when authors are penning best-selling memoirs about their alcoholic torment, and 12-step programs are as popular as SUVs, Christensen’s take is refreshing."–The New York Post"[T]he freshest anti-heroine I’ve read in a long time. This is no depressing drunk-noir; it’s a great description of real life–the good, the manageable, and the awful."–Jane"[A] breezy and confident first novel."–The New York Times Book Review
Q&A with Kate Christensen author of the upcoming Jeremy Thrane (on-sale August 7th)What is your background?I grew up in California and Arizona, and received a B.A. in English fromReed College and an MFA in fiction from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. My firstnovel, In The Drink, was published in May, 1999 and my second, JeremyThrane, will be published in August 2001. I live in Brooklyn and I’m afull-time writer. Where did the idea for Jeremy Thrane come from?I had decided, shortly before In The Drink came out, to write a novel abouta woman who tries to rescue her younger sister from a cult. Itwas the book I thought I ought to write next,—serious, earnest, "literary"with a plot. By the time I had written 125 pages, I had begun to suspectthat this book was as dull to read as it was to write. Still, I wasdetermined to grit my teeth, finish the thing and hope for the best. I keptplugging away at it. Then, one night as I was lying awake worrying about how the hell I wasgoing to send a jolt of electricity through this moribund thing, acharacter came to me—from where I have no idea. It was the image of a gayman with his arms outstretched standing in a loft high above Manhattan,looking down at the lights of the city. Immediately I felt a flash ofexcitement and purpose, even though I had no idea who this person was orwhat he was doing in my mind or what his situation was or what he wantedwith me. I put the other novel away and let my imagination do somegroundwork for a while. Then one day in September , after In The Drink hadbeen out for a few months and I’d calmed down enough to concentrate again,I went to my studio, turned on my computer and saw Jeremy on the StatenIsland Ferry after his one-night stand with Frankie. I typed the words, "Istood alone at the front of the boat. The deck sloped away from me, runningwith dew." Jeremy’s voice and the narrative engaged like meshing gears. How long did it take you to write Jeremy Thrane?This book was the most purely intuitive thing I’ve ever written; I’d neverwritten anything so quickly before. I hardly thought about it or planned it,I just let Jeremy’s voice emerge, and let myself go wherever it took me.The words came as fast as I could type them. I have a hard time beinganalytical or objective about this book—it feels like the result oflistening to my gut, letting my intuition be my guide and not allowingmyself to question it too much. I showed up at my studio every day, prettynearly seven days a week, until it was finished. I began it in September1999 and finished the final draft on Christmas Eve, 2000. How do you identify with Jeremy Thrane, the character?Obviously, I’m not a gay man. It had never occurred to me to write in thevoice of a gay man. What drew me to write about Jeremy initially was thatflash of recognition I had when he popped into my mind, an anonymousperson, a stranger. All I knew about him was that he was gay, which nowthat I think about it strikes me as interesting — why that, as his onlyidentifying quality? What really got me in that moment was a sense of his"otherness," his difference from me… My immediate curiosity about him —who was this guy, apart from being a gay man? — was the initial A-HA!!that spurred me to start fleshing him out over time, and finally to write abook from his perspective. I was curious about and intrigued by the ideaof inhabiting a gay man’s psyche and body for the duration of afirst-person narrative, and the prospect of allowing myself the freedom toimagine a world so different from the one I live in, even though it’s thesame city. As it turned out, Jeremy and I have a lot in common — he seesthe world much as an artist might, or a woman for that matter — as anoutsider of sorts, observing and analyzing the status quo, constantly awareof his own relation to it, detached but deeply present. The challengingwork was in the writing itself, the fleshing out of a character and hisworld, not in inhabiting a gay man’s perspective. Jeremy isn’t"representative of gay men" in any way for me (there’s no political agendahere, in other words)— he’s a solitary individual like the rest of us,someone whose sexuality is only a part of who he is — someone who isn’tme, but whom I know well and have come to love.
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