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Kate Christensen:
In the Drink
Kate Christensen
  In the Drink  
Kate Christensen    
reading

interview

excerpt



  Within the spate of plucky, 30-something, single career women comes a new literary voice, refreshing in its cynicism and ability to make the reader cringe with reluctant recognition. Kate Christensen has created this voice in Claudia Steiner, the anti-hero of In the Drink. The novel follows Claudia's stumbling journey through New York oblivion, from her days as ghost-writer for an aging, irrational, Jackie Collins-esque socialite-turned-"auteur," to her evenings seeking refuge in the murky comfort of East Village watering holes. It is from the ubiquitous bar stool that Claudia harbors a gin-infused crush on her life-long friend William.

Just when we think Claudia's incessant blundering couldn't possibly get any worse, it does. Her strong narrative is present throughout, and with each passing foible and foul-up Claudia becomes less of a stranger, more of a friend into whom we wish we could knock some sense. We come to root for her, to stand behind her while she spends hours searching through trash bags in her boss's upper-East side apartment building, sifting through chicken bones and used tissues for a photo she may or may not have lost. We forgive her when she acquiesces to her former zipless lover, John Threadgill, a self-proclaimed poet locked in an unhappy marriage to a Romanian stripper. We accept her unabashed love of liquor, the comfort it provides in allowing Claudia to escape her boss's incessant, irrational faultfinding mission and her own roach-infested apartment. And we do this because, throughout it all, none of Claudia's misadventures are truly beyond the realm of everyday human possibility. She makes impulsive mistakes we could easily make, observations we wish we had made, and recoveries that relieve us. In the end Claudia triumphs, because she never quite gives up. And like the quirky characters that keep resurfacing in Claudia's world, we will not soon forget her.

Listen to Kate Christensen read an excerpt from her finely-crafted debut novel, and read an interview with the author.

 
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  Photo of Kate Christensen copyright © Matthias Geiger

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