Interweaving the stories of three broken characters, this poignant novel traces the paths of Amelia Geist, Tris Holloway, and Holly Schenck. Amelia, in a lifelong act of penitence and defiance, has remained a virgin and saved herself for Tris, her first love, who abandoned her more than 50 years ago. A few weeks from retirement, Tris lives in the hills above Silicon Valley, trapped within a loveless marriage and shattered by his decision to leave Amelia all those years ago. Their only hope for reconnection is ...

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Interweaving the stories of three broken characters, this poignant novel traces the paths of Amelia Geist, Tris Holloway, and Holly Schenck. Amelia, in a lifelong act of penitence and defiance, has remained a virgin and saved herself for Tris, her first love, who abandoned her more than 50 years ago. A few weeks from retirement, Tris lives in the hills above Silicon Valley, trapped within a loveless marriage and shattered by his decision to leave Amelia all those years ago. Their only hope for reconnection is Holly, a single mother without means, who is trying to mend her life while confined to a hospital bed, a victim of her own suicide attempt. The fragmented stories of these individuals are linked by a profound truth and an astonishing connection that transcends the boundaries between this world and the next.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
For 50 years, Amanda Geist has held a torch for her childhood love Tris Holloway, saving herself and expecting the same from him. Holloway, meanwhile, is stuck in a loveless marriage, having always felt that his life was never fully realized. When Geist walks into the hair salon of single mom Holly Schenck to get a trim before her high school reunion (where she hopes to see Holloway), she sets off a chain of events that bounds all three together. In a failed bid for profundity, debut novelist Katsaropoulos employs a fragmented, head-jerking storytelling style with a fractured point-of-view meant to imitate a film's sense of simultaneous action. Unfortunately, the effect never quite gels; cramped for space and trapped by their own passivity, his characters come across as shallow and unsympathetic. Most frustratingly, Katsaropoulos falls back on easy shock-value plot twists to compensate for a lack of compelling drama.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781935462279
  • Publisher: Luminis Books
  • Publication date: 10/15/2009
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Chris Katsaropoulos has worked as an editor and product manager for major trade and textbook publishers, including Pearson Education and Glencoe/McGraw-Hill. He is the author of more than a dozen books, including two novels. He lives in Carmel, Indiana.

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 21, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Mesmerizing and Stunning, A wonderful fiction debut!

    Author: Chris Katsaropoulos
    Publisher: Luminis Books
    ISBN: 978-1-935462-27-9

    Mesmerizing and beautiful, a truly stunning book! Katsaropoulos is new to writing fiction, and his first novel sets the bar incredibly high. This book takes the reader into the minds and hearts of three very different people:
    Holly, a beautician and single mom of 2 young daughters, involved once again with the wrong man for all the wrong reasons, leading a life of self destruction.

    Tris, a well to do businessman nearing retirement age, with an overbearing wife and lots of regret about the past, and the childhood love he left behind.

    And Amelia, abandoned by the love of her life, her childhood sweetheart, more than fifty years ago. She's living a virginial life of self denial and emptiness, with a never ending hope for a return of that long lost childhood love she lost.

    In what can only be described as a truly unique style, the author takes us from the thoughts of one character directly into the next: an ongoing narrative of a brief portion of these three lives, to a moment of intersection so hauntingly profound and exquisite, it will leave the reader astounded and deeply moved.

    With a debut such as this, I see a wonderfully promising future for this author. A story and characters you will never forget, with a message as old and true as time itself. I have already read this twice, and marveled at it even more the second reading. I can not recommend this book highly enough! A true classic for the ages

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  • Posted April 30, 2010

    Debut author demonstrates great potential

    Fragile by Chris Katsaropoulos is an experiential novel about what pulls us together and apart. Amelia Geist saved herself for her childhood love, Tris Holloway, even though he has long abandoned her. Holly Schenk is just trying to make ends meet to take care of her two daughters alone, but she can't seem to want the right man. Tris, Amelia's love, is ready to retire, but his wife has tired of him and is cleaning out all remnants of their life together while he tries to find purpose in the last days of his job. Three very different people who are all struggling to feel love and be loved are all portrayed as fragile and vulnerable by Katsaropoulos. The narration jumps from one character to the next without notice right in the middle of a sentence which takes a little getting used to, but when the story picks up with the meeting of Amelia and Holly, it becomes natural, giving the novel a very organic and authentic voice. Amelia realizes that when she turned her back on love after losing Tris, she wasted much of her life. Holly is constantly seeking men who will only abuse and leave her while ignoring the good man right in front of her. Tris settled for his wife when all he really wanted was Amelia and is now paying for it in a bitter marriage. The stories are sad, but Katsaropoulos does a wonderful job of keeping the thread of hope alive in each of them, as though a happy ending is just around the corner. It's a small story with a large impact.

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  • Posted March 27, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Chris Katsaropooulos has a unique approach to storytelling.

    This story was interwoven among three primary characters in an interesting way, with each part of the story blending one into another. I was drawn to keep reading to discover more about the people and the way they connected. I look forward to more books from this very talented young man.

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  • Posted February 3, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    More a Screenplay than a Novel

    Chris Katsaropoulos knows what he's about: he has served in the roles of editor and publisher with such prestigious houses as McGraw-Hill, Pearson Prentice Hall and Macmillan, he has authored trade and technical books (some, pertinent to this book, dealing with the Internet as business) and he and his wife founded Emergent Learning LLC after encountering out-of-boy experiences. In FRAGILE, his first novel, he combines all of these elements of knowledge and experience and has written an experimental book that, like it title is fragile; this is a book of fragments not unlike the encounters we all face in life - moments that seem coincidental and unimportant at the time but which later lead to insights and even behavior changes completely unexpected. There is an element of 'higher meaning' in this story that makes it fascinating to finish and to contemplate the experience of reading it. But it is not without problems.

    Katsaropoulos has created a story of three seemingly disparate people - the intentionally unmarried Amelia Geist clinging to promises made fifty years ago to love only one man - the unhappily married Tristan Holloway whose longing for the explanation of why he left Amelia years ago still haunts him - and the single mother Holly Schenck, biding her time as a hair dresser while she erodes her own self image with bad decisions. The three come together in what appears to be mundane circumstances but that prove to be a gate to understanding and piecing together each of their fragile lives.

    The manner of story telling the author has chose seems almost a reaction to the many first novels he surveyed as an editor looking for something unique that would make a novel, otherwise well crafted but dull, interesting. His technique is to parcel out the story in fragments that transition at vulnerable moments in the story to other situations in each of the three characters lives. At first it seems like Internet Twittering or alphabet soup and can be confusing and disorienting for the first pages, but once the reader 'catches on' to the technique of fragmentation, the author's choice pushes the story into a fresh realm. For this reader this novel is more like a screenplay than a novel: that is not a bad thing. It seems at times as though the author is under the literary spell of James Joyce - but that is another discussion. In the end this is a 'novel' to admire for its technique, but it seems to leave the reader uninvolved with caring about these three people. Maybe as a screenplay with a solid director and some fine actors the story would feel different. But that, too, is another discussion. For lovers of experimental literature this book is tasty.

    Grady Harp

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2010

    Fragile Characters, Strong Writing

    Fragile is the debut novel of Chris Katsaropoulos, a keen observer of human nature whose prose is innovative, poetic, and at times truly transcendent. While juggling three different perspectives, he keeps us very much in the moment and yet the past is always present (and deeply felt) for his characters.

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