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Half-Life: A Novel Paperback – May 1, 2004

33 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Krach’s prose offers much insight into various worlds and the emotional landscapes of loss and mourning and young, fresh love." -- Time Out New York, 2004 (Beth Greenfield)

"A Lolita-like gay love affair unfolds on the stage of sunny suburban Southern California." -- Publisher's Weekly

"Aaron's writing glides like the camera in an Robert Altman ensemble piece, picking up and illuminating details to slowly, invisibly build a greater whole. There's not a word, sentence or piece of dialogue out of place, or unnecessary, in this beautifully rendered meditation on human nature and relationships." -- Gay Times UK

"Krach's engrossing tale offers much insight into various worlds ---from that of gay teens who chill in 7-Eleven parking lots to the emotional landscapes of loss and mourning to young, fresh love." -- TimeOut New York

"An amazingly compelling debut... Aaron Krach proves to be a tremendously talented master of detail." -- OUT magazine

"In his first novel, Aaron Krach has given us the story of two June weeks in the lives of Adam and his friends--days of love, death and coming of age, all rendered with a perfect understanding of how boys at the edge of manhood think and (with more than a couple of laugh-out-loud lines) how they talk. 'Half-Life' is illuminating." -- Elizabeth Stone, author of "A Boy I Once Knew"

From the Publisher

"'Half-Life' A Lolita-like gay love affair unfolds on the stage of sunny suburban Southern California." -PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

Half-Life is about being-or at least feeling-young and old at the same time. About loving, or wanting to love, but knowing that life and love are both as exuberant and seductive yet two-dimensional and illusory as a billboard along any of Los Angeles's endless freeways.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Alyson Books; 1st Edition, English Language edition (May 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1555838545
  • ISBN-13: 978-1555838546
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,858,306 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Born in Michigan but raised in Los Angeles, Aaron Krach is a writer and artist who lives on Manhattan's Lower East Side. His first novel, 'Half-Life' was published in 2004 to critical acclaim. ('An engrossing tale offering insight into loss, mourning'and young, fresh love,' Time Out new York.) It was nominated for the Lambda Literary Award and the Violet Quill Award for Debut Fiction. He's currently a features editor at House Beautiful magazine published by Hearst. As an artist, Aaron has exhibited his photographs, videos and installations at galleries in cities around the world from Seattle to Sao Paolo.

He loves eating pasta in Italy, getting toys on Christmas, taking photographs by night but writing at the crack of dawn. Aaron thinks art should be human and sexy, just like a very good book.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Andrew D. Tappon on July 6, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My expectations were not high for this book, which was heavily promoted in several gay magazines.
As a huge fan of gay literature (and literature, in general), I read the book in 3-4 sittings.
Krach's sense of character is terrific; his story-telling sparse.
I wish he had cut back on some of the characters in order to have more "quality time" with some of the main characters, but he creates a very surreal feel to a fake town outside of Los Angeles. An anti-OC, for sure.
It's good, it's fast -- and it's not going to change your life. Ultimately, I found myself wanting something else to happen. With all of the foreshadowing, one expects something gigantic to happen in Act Three, and, a lot like life, everything just kind of melds together.
One nit-picky thing (that has nothing to do with Aaron Krach or his obvious abilities) -- how does Alyson Publications get away with publishing a book FULL of typos, grammatical errors and punctuation mistakes?
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 22, 2004
Format: Paperback
When I read that this novel centered on the relationship between a 38 year old man and an 18 year old man I was a little worried it was going to be nothing more than erotica (not that anything is wrong with that; just not what I wanted to read). Instead, what I found was a wonderfully observed and detailed novel that put me in mind of Anne Tyler. Mr. Krach does a terrific job of making me understand how Adam (18) and Jeff (38) come to fall in love. In fact, by the end of the book I had completely forgotten there was any age difference at all.
As if their romance wasn't enough to propel the story forward the author also includes a truly unique mystery involving Adam and his father. I don't want to give anything away, but I was turning the pages like mad to find out how the situation was resolved. Another thing I appreciated about Half: Life was how the author treated the issue of gay teens. Like other recent books including Rainbow High and Geography Club the teens in this story aren't angst ridden over being gay. Which isn't to say they live in some perfect world, only that the characters themselves are much more comfortable with themselves than teens even ten years ago. Very refreshing. All in all, an excellent first novel and I look forward to reading more of Mr. Krach's work!
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25 of 32 people found the following review helpful By LYG on April 9, 2005
Format: Paperback
Shame on Allyson Publications! I place the blame for this sorry excuse for a novel squarely on their shoulders. While the author may be guilty of poor writing, it is, after all, a First Novel, and what the author needed was a good editor to guide him toward respectable finished product. Obviously, he didn't receive it.

The novel reads like a first-draft manuscript, and to charge money and sell this kind of incompetent writing to the general public is criminal. The book is rift with bad grammar, poor punctuation, sentences that aren't even mildly literate. The author confuses "your" and "you're" consistently, and makes grammatical errors that aren't just a result of style but of completely uneducated ignorance.

But these are all mistakes which would have---should have----been caught by an editor, "polished off", as it were. Instead, the reader is left putting his chin on his folded arms and giving up trying to decipher the author's intent in sheer frustration.

I understand, from the author's biography on the cover, that he is, himself, a magazine editor, so perhaps he felt he didn't need anyone to edit or proofread his novel before publishing. Yet the onus still falls to Allyson for failing to do justice to the work before putting it in print.

Other than the above mentioned errors, there's a lack of substance to the story, and far too many momentary segues to inconsequential musings that bear no direct relation to the story being told. Important scenes are broken by what amounts to sidebars in the lives of minor characters, for no explicit reason. Major issues are never resolved, nothing is learned by any of the weak characters, and the plot is thin and over-written.

This book is a travesty that was published before it was ready to be sold to the general public, and definitely isn't worth the price paid, even if you purchased it on a second-hand table. Shame on all involved.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Not Usually Hard To Please on April 21, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There's nothing exceptionally bad about this book. What's unfortunate is there's nothing exceptionally good about it either. As a first novel, it's hardly terrible, but the story is just so blah. And the cast of characters is more than a bit too broad. It makes the central characters seem fuzzy and out of focus. Mr. Krach is trying to write another entry into the great Gay Coming Of Age Genre, and, while the path is well trod, there is still enough fertile ground to tell interesting stories. And there's an interesting story here as well, about the two gay guys who are taking their first cautious steps into that awkward place between the children they were and the adults they will become.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By michael malavarca on April 9, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book lulls you in with some serene prose, an interesting and somewhat hypnotic tone, and the promise of a good plot. Remarkably, it manages to dangle that carrot in front of your face long enough to lure you all the way to the end, but when you finally get there you feel completely disappointed. A 35 year old cop ends up getting it on with a precocious teenager? Big whoop. Their interaction was so boring and anticlimactic. Furthermore, the two main characters interact so rarely this book, which is retarded for a novel whose premise is basically based on the idea that two men of varying ages can offer something revelation-inspiring to each other. And it becomes a complete let-down when you realize that what the author offers as epiphany is bland and lackluster.. Even more disappointing, author doesn't deliver on any of the smaller subplots that he set up either. There are a handful of significant characters whose plots just sort of go nowhere. Nothing gets tied up or even picks up any significant speed. The characters seem like they're cool, and you want to get to know them better, but in the end they prove ultimately underdeveloped. Essentially, this is a book that wants to present itself as conceptual - a book exploring life through the vehicle of an imaginative geography called Angelito - or at least this is what the book jacket insinuates. Initially, I was intrigued. But in order to pull off a book like this successfully, you have to have stronger underlying story. The work has to delve a little deeper, say a little more about life. This book's a buzz-kill because you get to end and it's said nothing at all....except maybe that Southern California sucks. And what was the point of writing a book about that?!Read more ›
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