Ethan Canin For Kings and Planets: A Novel

ISBN 13: 9780812979411

For Kings and Planets: A Novel

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9780812979411: For Kings and Planets: A Novel

Ethan Canin, the acclaimed author of America America and The Palace Thief, is “one of the best fiction writers of his generation” (The Miami Herald). For Kings and Planets follows the lives of two young men and the woman they both love. Orno Tarcher arrives in New York City from Missouri, carrying with him the weight of his family’s small-town values. He meets Marshall Emerson, the charismatic scion of a worldly clan, a seductive and brilliant New Yorker who is revealed, as time passes, to be bent on destruction. This novel explores the conflicts of character at the heart of every life, the desire for grandeur and the lure of normalcy, and the tension between rivalry and friendship, fathers and sons, love and betrayal. 

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Like Philip Roth and Robert Penn Warren, Ethan Canin won the Houghton Mifflin Fellowship for rising stars whose first books hit big. His luminous 1988 story collection, Emperor of the Air remains a must-read, but his second novel, For Kings and Planets, is nonetheless recognizably part of the Canin constellation. He repeatedly features a straight guy (an accountant or other sober type) transfixed by the spectacle of an out-of-control guy (a delinquent and/or child-prodigy brother or brother figure to the main character). This time, it's Orno Tarcher, a Missouri farm boy thunderstruck by his Columbia University classmate Marshall Emerson, a theatrically bratty, sometimes suicidal Manhattan genius. "I grew up with farmers and insurance salesmen," says Orno. "I grew up with Kennedys and insurance salesmen," says Marshall. "I grew up with pigs everywhere," says Orno. "And we had that in common," Marshall replies. (In keeping with their characters, Orno becomes a sensible dentist and Marshall a cynical, coked-up Hollywood producer.)

Canin sensitively evokes Orno's prosaic world--you'd have to read Jane Smiley's The Age of Grief for better fiction about dentistry. But Orno mostly exists to relate Marshall's appealing, appalling antics: his manic raps about his childhood amid the ruins of Istanbul, his sabotage of his own (and Orno's) love life, his Oedipal strife with his chilly, brilliant parents. "Our family seal is a snake twisted in knots," says Marshall's lovely sister. And, reader, Orno marries her. Page for page, Canin's stories better show off his gift for epiphany, but the novel gives him room to develop character, entangle plots, and make a stab at the heart of the family romance. --Tim Appelo

From the Publisher:

"Shimmering...luminous...For Kings and Planets leaves you wounded and healed." --Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, The New York Times

"The most mature and accomplished novelist of his generation. For Kings and Planets stands head and shoulders above the crowd." --Alan Cheuse, "All Things Considered"

"Breathtaking...outstanding...Scot Fitzgerald himself would have been honored by his company." --Dan Cryer, Newsday

"Brilliant...richly lyrical...An homage to the Golden Age of American Romanticism." --David Wiegand, San Francisco Chronicle

"Masterful...A classic parable of the human condition." --Publishers Weekly

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Book Description Random House Trade, 2010. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Ethan Canin, the acclaimed author of America America and The Palace Thief, is one of the best fiction writers of his generation (The Miami Herald). For Kings and Planets follows the lives of two young men and the woman they both love. Orno Tarcher arrives in New York City from Missouri, carrying with him the weight of his family s small-town values. He meets Marshall Emerson, the charismatic scion of a worldly clan, a seductive and brilliant New Yorker who is revealed, as time passes, to be bent on destruction. This novel explores the conflicts of character at the heart of every life, the desire for grandeur and the lure of normalcy, and the tension between rivalry and friendship, fathers and sons, love and betrayal. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9780812979411

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