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The Realm of Last Chances: A Novel

The Realm of Last Chances: A Novel

"I've loved Steve Yarbrough's books for a while. He's such a keen observer, and a spectacular storyteller. Earlier books have all been set in the South, but here he's moved the setting to a small town north of Boston. And does he nail small town New England. Cal and Kristin, a couple who have moved here for her to take an academic job at a small college, and all the people of the town are drawn with such compassion and insight. There is so much packed into this story, but it never feels overblown, or rushed. The creation and control of mood, from funny, to melancholy, to heartbreaking, to hopeful is just amazing. I got the advance copy on that day last winter when the city was closed down for a blizzard, and I couldn't have been happier than being able to read it all in one big satisfying gulp."

Carole H.

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Author Steve Yarbrough
Publisher Knopf
Publication Date 2013-08-06
Section New Hardcover - Fiction / All Staff Suggestions / Fiction Suggestions / Carole H.
Type New
Format Hardcover
ISBN 9780385349505

In a captivating departure from the Deep South setting of his previous fiction, Steve Yarbrough now gives us a richly nuanced portrait of a marriage being reinvented in a small town in the Northeast, in his most surprising and compelling novel yet. When Kristin Stevens loses her job in California's higher-education system, she and her husband, Cal, relocate to Massachusetts. Kristin takes a position at a smaller, less prestigious university and promptly becomes entangled in its delicate, overheated politics. Cal, whose musical talent is nothing more than a consuming avocation, spends his days alone, fixing up their new home. And as they settle into their early fifties, the two seem to exist in separate spheres entirely.

At the same time, their younger neighbor Matt Drinnan watches as his ex-wife takes up with another man in town, with only himself to blame. Each facing a different sense of isolation, he and Kristin gravitate toward each other, at first in hopes of a platonic confidant but then, inevitably, as something more. The Realm of Last Chances provides us with a subtle, moving exploration of relationships, loneliness, and our convolunted attempts to reach out to one another. 

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