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The Path of Minor Planets

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About the Author

Andrew Sean Greer is the bestselling author of five works of fiction, including The Confessions of Max Tivoli, which was named a Best Book of the Year by both the San Francisco Chronicle and the Chicago Tribune. He is the recipient of the Northern California Book Award, the California Book Award, the New York Public Library Young Lions Award, the O Henry Award for Short Fiction, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Public Library. Greer lives in San Francisco.


In 1965, a small band of astronomers and their families gathers on a remote South Pacific island to watch Comet Swift, but instead they witness a tragic accident that results in the death of a child. This event triggers momentous change in the lives of the observers, who reunite every six years on the island to comet-gaze. For 25 years, in a tale that is more "tell" than "show," Greer tracks the lives of Eli and Kathy Spivak; the brilliant Denise, wife of Adam and colleague (and then lover) of Eli; and Dr. Swift and his daughter Lydia, who is a miniature astronomer of the heart. As the years go by, Lydia observes the love affairs, academic jealousies, and relationship subterfuges that move across the tropical landscape during the reunions. Like worrying a sore tooth, the scientists revisit personal mistakes and weaknesses, intent on dissecting their ineffectiveness despite their collective intellectual powers. The result is a brainy debut novel by an award-winning short-story writer (How It Was for Me). For larger libraries. Beth E. Andersen, Ann Arbor District Lib., MI Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

"Perfectly captures the sensation of coming unprepared upon something wonderful...Part of greer's triumph derives from the book's ingenious structure....Unforgettable...Greer has learned Woolf's best lessons well. One of the wisest, most compassionate novels about smart people's emotional lives to come around in years." --David Kipen, San Francisco Chronicle Book Review (front page) "Greer pinpoints the 'tiny hidden madnesses in ordinary people' with unerring accuracy, and, in prose littered with sparks, makes palpable the longing for the celestial." --The New Yorker "[Greer's] carefully crafted sentences can ring with ethereal beauty, and his metaphors are vivid and creative....Greer is a writer to watch; he has a literary style that's worth wrapping around his sensitive perspective on the world." --The Boston Globe "Perhaps [no novelist] has blended the worlds of astronomy and romance so stunningly as Andrew Sean Greer.... Startlinglly clever phrasing and a careful sensitivity with a wide range of characters ... [with] remarkably wise insight into the nature of marriage and friendship." --The Christian Science Monitor "Each of the book's five sections nearly stands alone as a novella, with beautifully observed details and refreshing economy....[With] seamless prose...the novel is both subtle and sublime, an impressive debut." --The Washington Post Book World "Andrew Sean Greer is a master of small surprises. They wait for you in every chapter, every paragraph - nearly every sentence - of The Path of Minor Planets, and they never feel unearned or cloying....Stunning in both its skill and soul...It's almost as if Greer were channeling Woolf via Michael Cunningham....Awe-inspiring." --Rachel Howard, The San Francisco Examiner "A carefully plotted, meticulously drawn story." --Chicago Tribune "Greer successfully captures the spirits of both men and women here, and magages to hold a great deal together without slipping....A strong vision so consistently gorgeous." --Kirkus Reviews

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