Hello Life: A Novel

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Soho Press, 2005 - Fiction - 261 pages
"In Hello Life, Andrea Koenig has created two enchanting characters who have that singular characteristic of literary art: They are at once utterly unique and resonantly universal. We follow Gwen and Lila in their search for self and learn much about ourselves. This is a book rich in story and brimming with humanity."-Robert Olen Butler Gwen is newly motherless and of high school age. She needs help. She moves in with Mrs. Parker and another teenage girl she's looking after, Lila Abernathy-"Leukemia Girl." Lila's problem is cancer; Gwen's is pregnancy. Her 37-year-old boyfriend spends most of his time smoking pot in the van that doubles as his home, and his routine hasn't changed since he knocked her up. Gwen is facing life fast. She has to. Hello Life is utterly satisfying, a book you fall into like a comfortable bed. It is blissful to read something so engaging, so heartfelt and hardheaded, recounting the contentious but strong bond that develops between two waifs. They quarrel and bicker to divert attention from their real troubles of abiding loneliness and rootlessness. Gwen has an urgent feeling that she had better grow up quickly, given her situation, and Lila must grow up quickly because she might simply not have much life left. Gwen is sloppy and sexual, Lila, orderly and finicky. But different as they are, what they individually face connects them far more than their differences. What they're confronting is life unbuffered, and it's smacked them right in the kisser. Andrea Koenig is the author of a novel, Thumbelina, published by Scribner in the United States and Simon & Schuster in the United Kingdom. She is an assistant professor of creative writing at Oklahoma State University. She makes her home in Tulsa.

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User Review  - Kirkus

Cantankerous narrative of a girl in the logging country of the Pacific Northwest who chooses a tough way to deal with the death of her mother.Gwen's mother Althea was Columbia's hairdresser, not well ... Read full review


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About the author (2005)

Andrea Koenig teaches at Oklahoma State University.

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