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New Release: Half a Life

41cLklhbQoL._SL160_By Darin Strauss
McSweeney’s | 204pgs
Release Date: September 15, 2010

Summary:
In this honest and painful memoir, novelist Darin Strauss lays bare the life-shattering events surrounding the accidental death of his high school classmate in Half a Life. Eighteen-year-old Strauss was just weeks away from graduating high school on the day he was driving with some friends and collided with a young girl on a bike, who had unexpectedly swerved in front of his car. The girl, 16-year-old Celine Zilke, was killed and Strauss was left with a tremendous guilt that would weigh on him for years to come. In that instant, the hopeful young man with a bright future was forever changed, and a promise to Celine’s mother to live his life for two people, kept the girl a constant presence in his mind. The tragic loss of life, the dramatic court case that followed, and years of piercing introspection made Strauss the man very different from his younger self, and provided the foundation for his work in fiction. Through his personal story, the author touches on universal themes of guilt, accountability and acceptance of life’s traumas.

What critics are saying:
Strauss has written three previous novels including the bestseller Chang and Eng, which he is currently developing as a motion picture. Early editorial reviews have shown quite a bit of love for this probing memoir, with Pam Abrams of Entertainment Weekly calling Strauss “a terrific storyteller who doesn’t waste a word.” While Dani Shapiro of The New York Times concludes: “What is truly exceptional here is watching a writer of fine fiction…probe, directly, carefully and with great humility, the source from which his fiction springs.”

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