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The Realm of Last Chances

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Paperback published by Vintage (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group)

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In a captivating departure from the Deep South setting of his previous fiction, Steve Yarbrough now gives us a richly nuanced portrait of a marriage being reinvented in a small town in the Northeast, in his most surprising and compelling novel yet.

When Kristin Stevens loses her administrative job in California’s university system, she and her husband, Cal, relocate to Massachusetts. Kristin takes a position at a smaller, less prestigious college outside Boston and promptly becomes entangled in its delicate, overheated politics. Cal, whose musical talent is nothing more than a consuming avocation, spends his days alone, fixing up their new home. And as they settle into their early fifties, the two seem to exist in separate spheres entirely. At the same time, their younger neighbor Matt Drinnan watches his ex-wife take up with another man in his hometown, with only himself to blame. He and Kristin, both facing an acute sense of isolation, gravitate toward each other, at first in hope of a platonic confidant but then, inevitably, of something more. The Realm of Last Chances provides us with a subtle, moving exploration of relationships, loneliness and our convoluted attempts to reach out to one another.

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In a captivating departure from the Deep South setting of his previous fiction, Steve Yarbrough now gives us a richly nuanced portrait of a marriage being reinvented in a small town in the Northeast, in his most surprising and compelling novel yet.

When Kristin Stevens loses her administrative job in California’s university system, she and her husband, Cal, relocate to Massachusetts. Kristin takes a position at a smaller, less prestigious college outside Boston and promptly becomes entangled in its delicate, overheated politics. Cal, whose musical talent is nothing more than a consuming avocation, spends his days alone, fixing up their new home. And as they settle into their early fifties, the two seem to exist in separate spheres entirely. At the same time, their younger neighbor Matt Drinnan watches his ex-wife take up with another man in his hometown, with only himself to blame. He and Kristin, both facing an acute sense of isolation, gravitate toward each other, at first in hope of a platonic confidant but then, inevitably, of something more. The Realm of Last Chances provides us with a subtle, moving exploration of relationships, loneliness and our convoluted attempts to reach out to one another.

Product Details
Paperback (288 pages)
Published: May 6, 2014
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Imprint: Vintage
ISBN: 9780345804884
Other books bySteve Yarbrough
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    Safe from the Neighbors
    In a small town in the Mississippi Delta, Luke May teaches local history to students too young to remember the turmoil of the civil rights era. Luke himself was just a child in 1962 when James Meredith’s enrollment at Ole Miss provoked a bloody new battle in the old Civil War. But when a long-lost friend suddenly returns to town, bringing with her a reminder of the act of searing violence that ended her childhood, Luke begins to realize that his connection to the past runs deeper than he ever could have imagined. An intricate novel of family secrets, extramarital affairs, and political upheaval, Safe from the Neighbors is a magnificent achievement.

    Prisoners of War

    Prisoners of War
    It is 1943, and the war has come home to Loring, Mississippi. As German POWs labor in the cotton fields, the local draft board sends boys into uniform, and families receive flags and condolences. But for Dan Timms, just shy of 18, the war is his ticket out of town and away from the ghosts that haunt him. As he peddles goods from a rolling store for his profiteer uncle, Dan tries to understand his friend L.C., a young man who, on account of his skin, feels like a prisoner himself. But one day, Dan spots Marty Stark who has just returned from Italy, mysteriously reassigned to guard the POWs he was once trained to kill. As Dan soon learns, Marty’s war is far from over and threatens to erupt again.

    The End of California

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    From critically acclaimed author Steve Yarbrough comes this riveting, beautifully nuanced, new novel of life in a small town. After twenty-five years away and an illicit scandal in California, Dr. Pete Barrington is returning home to Loring, Mississippi, where football rules and religious piety mingles uncomfortably with darker human impulses. Though Barrington sets up a small practice and finds solace in an old friend, his wife, Angela, and daughter, Toni, are having trouble adjusting. Also, Barrington’s homecoming has awakened difficult memories for Alan DePoyster, a former high school classmate and now a pillar of the community, who blames Barrington for tearing apart his family. When DePoyster’s son and Barrington’s daughter begin a fledgling relationship, the children are forced to pay for their parents’ sins, and things take a disastrous, even shocking turn.

    Visible Spirits

    Visible Spirits
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    In 1902, in a small community deep in the Mississippi Delta, nearly a generation after the end of slavery, events obscured by time but impossible to forgive or forget echo in the lives of blacks and whites alike. As bound together by history as they are separated by mutual distrust, the citizens of Loring face present tensions as they look toward an uncertain future. Into this charged atmosphere rides Tandy Payne–prodigal son of a prominent planter and brother of the current mayor, and a dissolute gambler looking to reclaim the family estate. When he takes advantage of a perceived slight from the town’s black postmistress, the ensuing clash with his principled brother results in a harrowing confrontation. Fueled by dark and brutal memories, their familial dispute quickly spreads through the countryside. Steve Yarbrough confronts character with morality, reason with blood, in this moving novel that explores the farthest boundaries of human nature.

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