Unimaginable Zero Summer: A Novel

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Three Rivers Press, 2005 - Fiction - 272 pages
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Perhaps you too have experienced the nausea brought on by the arrival of an invitation to a high school reunion. Bookstore clerk and culture junker Verity Presti will soon attend her fifteenth reunion with her boyfriend, the unfortunately but aptly named Charlie Brown, who lives with his parents while training to be an urban shaman—a modern-day medicine man somewhat capable of exorcising ghosts from apartments and cubicles, predicting baseball scores, and channeling lost pets. Verity, angst-ridden and burdened with fifteen years of magnificent failure, will be reunited with Craig and Carolyn, sickeningly perfect high school sweethearts, married now and perfectly sick of each other; Verity’s former crush Stan and his wife, Laurel, a frustrated author of angry haikus; and Will, a rage-aholic KJ (that’s “karaoke jockey”) whose only soft spot is the one he still has for Verity. A growing anxiety permeates the round of cocktail parties that precedes the reunion, causing old affections and animosities to boil over and threaten the dubious complacency of these seven lovable losers. With her trademark sarcasm and uncanny ability to skewer the oddities of contemporary hipster life, Stella has created a cast of endearingly eccentric characters who embody the insecurities and foibles that all of us—former prom desperados, band nerds, the burnout brigade, and loner stiffs—have and hope nobody else will notice.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - mochap - LibraryThing

Had a hard time keeping these somewhat bland, (attempt-to-be-odd-ball) characters straight. A group of people prepare for their 20th HS reunion, with all the angst and "what could have beens" that that entails. So so...wouldn't be on my short-list of books to take to a desert island... Read full review

Contents

Section 1
1
Section 2
4
Section 3
10
Copyright

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About the author (2005)

Leslie Stella is the author of three previous novels of contemporary adult fiction, Unimaginable Zero Summer, The Easy Hour, and Fat Bald Jeff. She was a founding editor of the Chicago-based politics and satire magazine Lumpen, and her work has been published in The Mississippi Review, The Adirondack Review, Bust, Easy Listener, and anthologized in The Book of Zines: Readings from the Fringe (edited by Playboy's Chip Rowe), a collection of essays and articles from the obsessive, frequently bizarre world of zines. Leslie was nominated for a 2004 Pushcart Prize in short fiction. Permanent Record is her first novel for young adults. She lives in Illinois with her husband and their children.

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