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Jeremy Thrane: A Novel Paperback – June 11, 2002


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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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 --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Two years after her well-received debut, Christensen (In the Drink) delivers a knockout sophomore effort, once again set against the backdrop of a glitteringly grungy downtown Manhattan. As the novel begins, 35-year-old pretty boy Jeremy Thrane lives in the top -floor apartment of a gorgeous Gramercy Park townhouse otherwise inhabited by Hollywood star Ted Masterson, Ted's even hotter actress wife and their adopted daughter. Jeremy, long Ted's secret lover, has been employed as the actor's "archivist" for years, but his free ride is about to come to an end. Unceremoniously dumped by the media-wary Ted, Jeremy must abandon his apartment and take a thankless nine-to-five job; on the bright side, he is finally inspired to finish his decade-in-the-making novel, a revenge fantasy based on the life of his deadbeat Marxist father. Christensen corrals a flawed cast of characters with a sure and compassionate hand, among them Jeremy's mother, a successful poet; his sister, a junior rock star; his best friend, a chic artist addicted to heroin; and a physically repellent gay-porn editor who has been in love with Jeremy since high school. Chistensen's sumptuous prose is both wicked and wise, resulting in a smart, sassy urban tale. Her wit is as acerbic as ever, but the laugh-out-loud humor of her first novel has been exchanged for something darker and more provocative. Young, hip readers will be pleased by this stylish endeavor and will agree that Christensen is establishing herself as an edgy chronicler of the Naked City and its struggling inhabitants. (Aug.) Forecast: The 20- and 30-something fans Christensen picked up with In the Drink will adore her savvy, satiric latest, and get a chance to collect autographs on her three-city author tour.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor; Reprint edition (June 11, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385720343
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385720342
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #946,165 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By L. Cunningham on February 18, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book after reading (and enjoying) Christensen's In the Drink. The reviews assured me that if I liked In the Drink, I would love Jeremy Thrane. Boy, were they wrong! Now, don't get me wrong. I read Jeremy Thrane quickly and enjoyed it. There's nothing "wrong" with this book. It's just very different than In the Drink, and, in my humble opinion, not as "good."
Like In the Drink, Jeremy Thrane is written with a first-person voice, which I enjoy. Unlike, In the Drink, however, I feel, well, very aware of the face that our narrator is, well, narrating. Many of the narrator's comments, thoughts, etc. seemed very contrived, and, overall, detract from the book's "flow."
If you're looking for a book that reads quickly, is written decently, and comments on "celebrity culture," a gay man's life in NYC or... just "hip" life in general, Jeremy Thrane won't disappoint. If, however, like me, you're looking for a follow-up to In the Drink, keep looking.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By CoffeeGurl HALL OF FAME on September 1, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Ever since I read In the Drink, I have become a fan of Kate Christensen. In the Drink was filled with the kind of dark humor that I enjoy in fiction. I also enjoyed her realistic view of New York City. She didn't romanticize the city -- she showed it for what it was. It was a very clever satire. So I was eager to pick up her second novel.
Jeremy Thrane is the tale of a gay man in his mid-thirties who's had a secret affair with a famous film star named Ted for ten years. Ted is married to a famous movie actress. Both his wife and the media are unaware of his homosexuality. The novel takes some humorous, poignant and sometimes unexpected turns.
The novel is well written, however, there are some things that were left floating in the story. For instance, Ted seldom appears in the novel. Character and story development were needed throughout the novel. Christensen needed to delve into and explore some of the secondary characters.
All and all, it was a satisfactory read. It is not as dark and sinister as In the Drink, but it's nevertheless a great read. Kate has a way with words, and I recommend her lyrical and witty novels most highly.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 2, 2002
Format: Hardcover
You'll enjoy this book - great dialogue, exacting descriptions of situations, moods, scenery. She does the job we all wish we could do slamming some of the types we all love to hate (the nosy neighbor, the snooty 20-somethings who think they run the world.) One of the most interesting aspects of this story are the descriptions of good food and drink that are integral to the main character's life, not matter what else is going on. He's all boy, that's for sure. Christensen implies that he's guite a stud, but never comes out and says it, which adds to the intrigue.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By William G. Key on October 15, 2003
Format: Paperback
Such an intelligent writer, but one who takes 309 pages to tell a story that could have been told in less than 100. If you're into page after page of ruminating, intellectualizing, ego-centric analyzing, you'll love this book. If you prefer a good story where the plot actually moves, then look elsewhere. Maybe I just don't get the whole New York angst thing...
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By "blissengine" on February 8, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Jeremy Thrane is a gay man in his mid-30s living in New York City and posing as the archivist to his sometimes-lover (a closeted, married Hollywood action star). Jeremy is also writing an epic novel about his absentee father and is generally lounging about, until he unintentionally, yet purposefully, outs his married lover to the world. Jeremy escapes before the fallout into his own search for a new start. He finds a real job for the first time in years; he reconnects with and slowly learns to appreciate his oddball family. And through it all he matures and skewers his friends, and ultimately finds love (maybe). "Jeremy Thrane" is quirky and intriguing, and yet midway through reading, I found that it bogged down where Jeremy flits about making a general nuisance of himself. Christensen's writing style, sense of humor, and her characterizations kept me interested, and with perseverance, I found myself compelled to find out how it all ends. While it's not as gorgeous and spectacular as Kranz's "Leaps Of Faith" or Hamilton's "The Short History Of A Prince" or Duncker's "Hallucinating Foucault", "Jeremy Thrane" is a charming and lively story of a gay man growing older and suddenly finding that life isn't so bad after all.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Beverly Molnar on October 13, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is the first book I've read by Kate Christensen and I enjoyed it so much that I immediately bought her first novel, In The Drink (which I have yet to read). Her gift for narrative and description is beyond measure, and the storyline and characters were beautifully crafted. I gave it 4 out of 5 stars because I did feel the story tended to drag in spots; whole sections of the book spanned a single day. Also, there was not one character in the book I didn't find less than sympathetic (including Jeremy himself), and I have to admit I found the recurring nonchalant references to incest and pedophilia more than a little disturbing -- must be a gay-culture phenomenon I'm not aware of?
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By bowery boy on October 24, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Kate Christensen's 'Jeremy Thrane' is crisp, fresh, full of beautiful metaphors and right on the money when depicting the lives and loves of gay men.
It's amazing that (I'm assuming) a straight woman could write so eloquently from a gay man's point of view. As a gay man I found myself laughing aloud at certian situations, identifying wholeheartedly with a lot of Jeremy's viewpoints and gasping at the incredible similarities of Jeremy's friends to some of my own.
I lent a friend my copy when she took a trip to New York City and not only did she love it and was amazed at how right on Christensen is during the Jewish family scene (my friend is Jewish) but also she had the pleasure of meeting an aquaintance of Christensen's at an editors convention who essentially sang the same praises for her novel as I.
I won't go into the particulars of 'Jeremy Thrane' as other reviewers have already done so. However, I highly recommend this novel for anyone in search of a fresh take on gay fiction that goes beyond the nightclub/sex & drugs/kept boy mentality of most gay fiction.
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