Swimming in the Starry River

Swimming in the Starry River

by Paul Carey Reid
     
 

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When Jim quits his job so that his wife Marsha can pursue her career, he finds life becoming simultaneously more difficult and more rich as he cares for their daughter Stella, who has a life-threatening disease. A first novel.

Overview

When Jim quits his job so that his wife Marsha can pursue her career, he finds life becoming simultaneously more difficult and more rich as he cares for their daughter Stella, who has a life-threatening disease. A first novel.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A father's love for his dying daughter illuminates this heartrending first novel. Jim Kaldy, who narrates in a careful, steady voice, tells us at the beginning that his family's story is not an easy one. Kim and his wife Marsha's only child, six-year-old Stella, suffers from a lethal, painful, congenital skin disease that has has left her hideously deformed. Jim quits his job as a government financial analyst to care for Stella, allowing Marsha to resume her career. Forced to confront the pain and humiliation his child endures on a daily basis, Jim takes Stella out of school to teach her at home. Yet just as Stella begins to blossom under his care, they are faced with a difficult decision about a skin-graft operation that could alleviate the effects of Stella's disability but would subject her to risky side effects. Without sentimentality or melodrama, Reid creates a harrowing yet immensely moving story. The Kaldys' dilemma is made palpably real, along with their quiet heroism in bearing the terrible burden, and their mutual love. Drawn in by Reid's unflinching, often lyrical prose, the reader gets through it too, and emerges humbled by this story of ordinary people with extraordinary hearts. (May)
Library Journal
This slightly self-conscious first novel describes the life of Jim Kaldy, an unbelievably sensitive man who successfully deals with a dysfunctional mother, a stressful job as a financial analyst, a terminally ill but feisty six-year-old daughter named Stella, and a wife who is tiring of the responsibilities of being Stella's sole caregiver. Jim agrees to quit his job and stay home with Stella so that his wife can return to her career, and he adjusts to this dramatic life change with ease. Jim is just too good to be true, his wife too sketchily drawn to know very well. Stella is more realistically complex. This is a sweet story, laced with allusions to ancient astronomy, that turns into a real tear-jerker with Stella's inevitable death. With fuller characterizations, Reid might have had a novel to rival Larry McMurtry's Terms of Endearment . For general readers.-- Rebecca House Stankowski, Purdue Univ. Calumet Lib., Hammond, Ind.
Margaret Flanagan
Reid's heartrending portrait of a family attempting to cope with the chronic illness and death of a young child is exquisitely and sensitively rendered without ever becoming maudlin or sentimentalized. Born with a virulent and physically debilitating skin disease that has sapped her strength and scarred and ravaged her tiny body, six-year-old Stella Kaldy finds solace in the stars during her nightly walks with her father, who teaches her about the constellations and recounts the ancient mythological legends concerning the heavens in a tender effort to enrich his only child's brief tenure on earth. When Jim Kaldy gives up his job in order to relieve his mentally and spiritually fatigued wife of the arduous task of caring for Stella on a daily basis, he not only forges a more powerful bond with his beloved daughter but also experiences both the profound joy and the despair associated with ministering to a fatally ill child. An inspirational and uplifting chronicle of courage, frustration, and compassion from a tremendously gifted and insightful new talent.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780786860050
Publisher:
Hachette Books
Publication date:
05/01/1994
Edition description:
1st ed
Pages:
384
Product dimensions:
5.25(w) x 7.62(h) x 1.25(d)

What People are saying about this

Elinor Lipman
This book has taken up permanent residence in my heart. You don't often meet people so real, with a story so compelling, living in language this beautiful.

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