As She Climbed Across the Table: A Novel by Jonathan Lethem

By Jonathan Lethem

Anna Karenina left her husband for a rushing officer. girl Chatterley left hers for the gamekeeper. Now Alice Coombs has her boyfriend for not anything … not anything at all.  simply how that are supposed to have come to go and what Philip Engstrand, Alice’s spurned boyfriend, can do approximately it's the premise for this vertiginous speculative romance through the acclaimed writer of Gun, with Occasional Music.

Alice Coombs is a particle physicist, and she or he and her colleagues have created a void, a gap within the universe, that they have got taken to calling Lack. yet Lack is a nullity with taste—tastes; it absorbs a pomegranate, gentle bulbs, an argyle sock; it disdains a bow tie, an ice ax, and a scrambled duck egg. To Alice, this selectivity interprets as an impossible to resist character. To Philip, it makes Lack an unbeatable rival, for the way can he win Alice again from anything that has no flaws—because it has no features? inventive, hilarious, and surely mind-expanding, As She Climbed around the Table is the easiest boy-meets-girl-meets-void tale ever written. 

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I responded to this feeling by loosening his belt and unbuttoning his khakis as I pulled him toward the laundry room. Once we were lying together on my bed, I could see the signpost up ahead in my brain, the one that read YOU KNOW WHERE THIS ROAD LEADS. And we blew right past it. We were both naked from the waist down, still kissing, his breath louder than it had been just seconds before and his heart pounding like crazy against my chest. “Are we . . ” he asked. And because I didn’t get that he was talking about birth control—because, stupidly, birth control was the last thing on my mind—I looked at the bedsheet in a moment of confusion.

I mean, I am and I’m not. I’ve got the weird living situation, the lack of real parents, and no clue what I’m supposed to do with my life. But here’s what Keisha taught me about growing up the way we have: you can let it wreck you, or you can make it work for you. You just have to take control to survive. Jules knows this, too, and just like my sister, she refuses to be pushed around by anybody. Yeah, maybe I was quiet and shy for years after that, and maybe I didn’t fully come out of that shell until I met Jules freshman year, but I made it through being a little kid.

The hell,” she mutters, slurping a little line of drool back into her mouth. ” I don’t go to school that day. Jules’s mom, who is a lawyer and who looks like she just stepped out of Vogue magazine, clearly doesn’t quite understand what’s going on. As we’re all standing downstairs in the kitchen a little while later—me, Jules, and her parents—I can hear by Mrs. Hill’s voice that she’s not at all thrilled about the idea of me staying in their house by myself. But then Jules tells her, “God, Mom.

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