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Jeremy Thrane: A Novel by Kate Christensen

Jeremy Thrane: A Novel

by Kate Christensen

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Jeremy Thrane’s comfortable world is about to be turned on its head. Having for years been in the employ of his lover Tom, living in his New York home and running his affairs, he is about to be thrown out. Tom is now a successful actor, married to an even more successful actress, and for years Jeremy and Tom have carried on their love affair in secret; but that is about to come to an end, and Jeremy is about to lose his cosseted lifestyle and start fending for himself. This means relying on his writing skills, but he may have to lower his sights and take on some seedier assignments if he is to succeed.

The story itself is interesting enough, but it takes its time getting there, if it really gets anywhere at all other than self realisation for Jeremy. It indulges in dialogues which often lead nowhere other than establishing characters we already have a good picture of, and the same often applies to the narrative. As a consequence I frequently found my mind wandering from the story. Add to that the fact that I did not find the characters particularly appealing; Jeremy comes across as slovenly and self-centred; I did not find this a very compelling read. No doubt some readers will find Jeremy more appealing than I did, and so may feel differently about this. ( )
  Bembo | Feb 1, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385720343, Paperback)

With this portrait of a closeted gay movie star's live-in lover, Jeremy Thrane ventures into a largely unexplored subcontinent of literature: the lives and times of hangers-on. Jeremy is 35, unemployed, working on novel, and living in a fabulous townhouse in Gramercy Park. For his entire adult life, he has been discreetly provided for by Ted Masterson, an action-movie star married to an equally famous actress. The novel hinges on a question best phrased metaphorically: What happens when Kato gets booted from the guesthouse? In the opening pages, Ted throws his sexual sidekick out on his ear, and Jeremy finds himself in the unenviable position of learning to create a life in his mid-30s. (It's sort of like a gender-swapping version of those novels, epidemic in the 1970s, about unfulfilled wives who head off to find themselves.)

Jeremy realizes he hasn't really noticed the passing of time, and discovers to his shock that he's not the boy he used to be: "Now, on what I was dismayed to learn was the cusp of early middle age, my hair was graying just a little at the temples, my muscles were softening somewhat, and my whole body had widened slightly, had taken on a new maturity that I didn't entirely dislike, but wasn't thrilled with either, because who would be?" The novel follows Jeremy's gentle adventures as he looks for love, an apartment, a job, and a little companionship. This is a grungy, funny Manhattan fable of walk-ups and poisonous ambitions, of family ties and two-faced friends. Kate Christensen brings to Jeremy's story the same mordant wit and social satire that made her first novel, In the Drink, a cult favorite. This one reads like a roman à clef, but probably isn't, which is a compliment to the novel's comical and uncanny verisimilitude. --Claire Dederer

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:36 -0400)

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