Carry the Sky
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Carry the Sky

4.08 (78 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

Kate Gray takes an unblinking look at bullying in her debut novel, Carry the Sky. It's 1983 at an elite Delaware boarding school. Taylor Alta, the new rowing coach, arrives reeling from the death of the woman she loved. Physics teacher Jack Song, the only Asian American on campus, struggles with his personal code of honor when he gets too close to a student. These two young, lonely teachers narrate the story of a strange and brilliant thirteen-year-old boy who draws atomic mushroom clouds on his notebook, pings through the corridors like a pinball, and develops a crush on an older girl with secrets of her own. Carry the Sky sings a brave and honest anthem about what it means to be different in a world of uniformity.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 318 pages
  • 256.54 x 299.72 x 22.86mm | 317.51g
  • Forest Avenue Press
  • OR, United States
  • English
  • 0988265761
  • 9780988265769

Review quote

"Many books about high school deal with bullying, but few explore the ramifications as deeply as Carry the Sky." -- Melissa Duclos, "11 High School Books That Will Take You Back to the Schoolyard," Bustle "Gray brings together a plethora of issues and mixes them in a way that's believable and natural. Identity crises, taboo relationships, teenage angst, and both sides of the bullying equation blend together seamlessly with loneliness, white privilege, otherness, and even a surprising amount of science, which is what Song uses as a lens to look at and try to understand the world. All these elements come together because there's pain and loss that serves as glue." -- Gabino Iglesias, That Lit Site "Carry the Sky is as intricate and precise as the paper cranes its characters fold. It comes as no surprise that Kate Gray is a poet as well as a fine novelist. Here we are surely in a poet's hands, her lyricism and attention to detail elevating the boarding-school narrative to something heartbreaking and truly universal." -- Cari Luna, author of The Revolution of Every Day "Gray's dreamy, poetic language perfectly captures the languor, the sudden bursts of pain, the slow, subtle drowning that an isolated young adulthood can be. Taylor, an elite college rower, sees her world in terms of rowing and the crew team, while Song frames his in physics and the sciences, but neither is able to carry these models outside of themselves, apply them to the wider world in a way that brings them comfort, makes true sense. And neither knows quite what to do about a cruel case of bullying they observe among their students." -- Julia Fine, reviewer, Necessary Fiction "In the small, close world of a boarding school, three broken people circle each other, drawing closer to the tragedy that will move them all, finally, beyond their private sorrows. Three voices, three stories, and we are caught up in those stories as they are slowly revealed, like shards of a shattered mirror, one piece at a time. There is huge humanity in this novel. It is shockingly beautiful. Kate Gray is relentless." -- Joanna Rose, author of Little Miss Strange "The best writers find it a bit of a magic act balancing humor and heartbreak without showing how the trick is done. That being the case, this book is seamless sorcery. It rings true, raw and it will crush you. The best debut novels always do." -- Joe Kurmaskie, book reviewer and author of Metal Cowboy "Gray's poetic sensibilities crystallize in her prose. Under her careful hand, wild curls become a mask, hope is personified in the 'sunflower face' of a friend, and a lone goose in the sky evokes a blend of longing, loneliness, and loss. Often, her carefully rendered imagery and symbols purposefully repeat throughout the text, calling back to and layering on top of each other, slowly building mood and meaning." -- Alicia Sondhi, reviewer, Foreword Reviews "Carry the Sky is a dazzling narrative mosaic about innocence lost, the ghosts we grieve, and the emptiness of some forms of discipline and delineation. Kate Gray gives us a 'page-turner' in the best sense: you'll want to read both fast and slow, moving back and forth through this fearlessly told story, savoring." -- M. Allen Cunningham, author of The Green Age of Asher Witherow and Lost Son "Taylor, Jack, and Carla have secrets that shame them, and each finds a brief moral balance in their concern for bullied Kyle. What they can't know is the weight Kyle himself carries, burdened by the threat of nuclear annihilation: a threat he understands all too well from his mother, a Japanese woman scarred in the bombing of Nagasaki. The leitmotif of origami pays off well as the diverse planes of each characters' suffering begin folding together around the shape of Kyle's ultimate plan for getting back at his tormenters." -- Sarah Cypher, reviewer and author of The Editor's Lexicon "The people in Kate Gray's intricate, visceral, and heartbreaking novel Carry the Sky armor themselves. Cocooned in sport, science, sex, power, privilege, or eccentricity, they face the fragility of their invented safe spaces when love, sex, violation, and obsession strip them to their most intimate selves. I can't say enough good things about this sizzling, deeply profound, poetic work." -- Davis Slater, author of Selling Sin at the Hoot-Possum Auction
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Flap copy

Kate Gray takes an unblinking look at bullying in her debut novel, Carry the Sky. It's 1983 at an elite Delaware boarding school. Taylor Alta, the new rowing coach, arrives reeling from the death of the woman she loved. Physics teacher Jack Song, the only Asian American on campus, struggles with his personal code of honor when he gets too close to a student. These two young, lonely teachers narrate the story of a strange and brilliant thirteen-year-old boy who draws atomic mushroom clouds on his notebook, pings through the corridors like a pinball, and develops a crush on an older girl with secrets of her own. Carry the Sky sings a brave and honest anthem about what it means to be different in a world of uniformity.
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Back cover copy

Kate Gray takes an unblinking look at bullying in her debut novel, "Carry the Sky." It s 1983 at an elite Delaware boarding school. Taylor Alta, the new rowing coach, arrives reeling from the death of the woman she loved. Physics teacher Jack Song, the only Asian American on campus, struggles with his personal code of honor when he gets too close to a student. These two young, lonely teachers narrate the story of a strange and brilliant thirteen-year-old boy who draws atomic mushroom clouds on his notebook, pings through the corridors like a pinball, and develops a crush on an older girl with secrets of her own. "Carry the Sky" sings a brave and honest anthem about what it means to be different in a world of uniformity. In the rich rarified world of a prep school, Kate Gray has woven two powerful personal stories into a charged and compelling human novel which shows us that swimming under that quirky, antic, off-beat community are also life and death. Gray has a sharp eye and tells her story with verve and a deft touch. Ron Carlson, author of "The Signal" and "A Kind of Flying" Lyrical, moving, and hauntingly beautiful, Kate Gray s "Carry the Sky" winds between two voices, Taylor and Song, both navigating the narrow lanes of St. Timothy s boarding school where they teach, both hitting the walls that surround them. One uses science to make sense of loneliness, loss, and desirethe other uses the beat of a rower s oar in water. Together these two outsiders struggle to move past mourning, to seek hope as they crack open their insular world. "Carry the Sky" is full of unforgettable characters and images, each word carefully chosen, like a perfect fold in a paper crane, creating a graceful neck, strong tail, and mighty wings, perched on the edge of the page, ready to take flight. Hannah Tinti, author of "The Good Thief" and co-founder of "One Story" A splendid debut novel, beautifully written and brimming over with humanity and grace, alternately humorous and heart-wrenching. Christopher Buckley, author of "But Enough About You" Set in a boarding school in 1983, "Carry the Sky" is a haunting exploration of loneliness, grief, and desire. In lyrical, elegant prose, Kate Gray spins a tale of characters struggling to forgive themselves and to find each other, and reminds us to pay attention to the ordinary and unexpected flashes of beauty around us: a brilliant kite, geese overhead, a paper crane in a tree. Carter Sickels, author of The "Evening Hour""
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About Kate Gray

A rower for years, Kate Gray coached crew and taught in an East Coast boarding school at the start of her career. Now after more than twenty years teaching at a community college in Oregon, Kate tends her students' stories. Her first full-length book of poems, Another Sunset We Survive (2007), was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award and followed chapbooks, Bone Knowing (2006), winner of the Gertrude Press Poetry Prize, and Where She Goes (2000), winner of the Blue Light Chapbook Prize. Over the years she's been awarded residencies at Hedgebrook, Norcroft, and Soapstone, and a fellowship from Oregon Literary Arts. She and her partner live in a purple Graphic designer Gigi Little is the creative force behind Forest Avenue Press' visual identity. Outside of the domain of Forest Avenue, she has written and illustrated two children's picture books and her fiction and essays have appeared in anthologies and literary journals. She lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband, fine artist Stephen O'Donnell. Before moving to Portland, Gigi spent fifteen years in the circus, as a lighting director and professional circus clown. She never took a pie to the face and never got stuffed into one of those little cars, but she is a Rhodes scholar on the art of losing one's pants.
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Rating details

78 ratings
4.08 out of 5 stars
5 49% (38)
4 22% (17)
3 23% (18)
2 3% (2)
1 4% (3)
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