The Half-Life of Everything Summary and Reviews

The Half-Life of Everything

A Novel

by Deborah Carol Gang

The Half-Life of Everything by Deborah Carol Gang X
The Half-Life of Everything by Deborah Carol Gang
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  • Published in USA  Sep 2018
    320 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

David and Kate are happily married fiftysomethings when she's diagnosed with early Alzheimer's. He has never been unfaithful, but after several years of losing Kate more each day, he wonders: What is a married widower supposed to do? Two strong-willed women intervene and everyone finds themselves making unexpected choices.

Can any marriage withstand the transformation of one partner into someone who's lost? When does a marriage end? The Half-Life of Everything, realistic in every detail except for one speculative twist, places David in the unwelcome situation of loving two women. Must he be the good and faithful husband he's always been, or is he deserving of a second chance? The novel is a modern study of marriage and love––and of friendship, the overlooked foundation of both romantic and everyday life.

Deborah Carol Gang's beautifully written, humorous, and ultimately uplifting debut novel will remind readers of Anne Tyler's lyrical and slightly off-kilter fiction. Tyler herself, who steadfastly continues an anti-blurb campaign, wrote the author "to tell you directly how much I enjoyed The Half-Life of Everything."

About the Author
The short fiction of Deborah Carol Gang has been published in Literarymama, Bluestem Journal and The Driftless Review. Her poetry has appeared in JJournal/CUNY, New Verse News, The Michigan Poet, Arsenic Lobster, and The Liberal Media Made Me Do It. Her research as a clinical psychologist has been published in Education and Treatment of Children.

Originally from Washington, D.C., she moved to St. Paul to attend Macalester College and then to graduate school in Kalamazoo, Michigan (Western Michigan University), where she remained for her work as a psychotherapist and because of her love of the Great Lake one hour to the West. Still living in Kalamazoo, she has a Midwestern accent and now writes full-time. The Half-Life of Everything is her first novel.

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Reviews

Media Reviews



"A deftly crafted novel by an author with a genuine flair for originality and narrative driven storytelling. The Half-Life of Everything is a thoroughly absorbing and thought-provoking read from beginning to end." - Midwest Book Review

"Gang's probing and emotional novel about loss, recovery, and renewal follows a messily imperfect family through some of the most difficult and rewarding years of their lives. Her grounded prose echoes the weight of the family's hardest decisions, with a style reminiscent of Anne Tyler. Full of life and love, Gang's debut novel is heartwarming and genuine." - Booklist

"Has a novel ever burned so brightly with decency, common sense, and love in the face of fate's cruel medical tricks as The Half-Life of Everything? I don't think so. This is a one-of-a-kind book, full of grace, humor, and winning characters. The meanings of marriage, fidelity, and love itself are up for grabs, and Deborah Carol Gang's clear and vivid prose juggles them artfully. A remarkable debut." - Andy Mozina, A Finalist for The Flannery O'Connor Prize, and author of Contrary Motion

"A timely, compelling, beautifully written story of love divided, multiplied, but never defeated. I rooted for every one of Deborah Carol Gang's memorable characters." - Elinor Lipman, bestselling author of numerous novels, including On Turpentine Lane, The View from Penthouse B, and The Inn at Lake Devine

"Oh the humanity! Deborah Carol Gang's crisp debut novel shows how, with a little luck, decent people making smart, careful choices can nonetheless careen into troubled new landscapes. Enjoy the ride and the charming company as this what-if story banks and swerves and carries you safely home." - Bonnie Jo Campbell, author of American Salvage, A National Book Award finalist, and Winner of the 2019 Mark Twain Award for Distinguished Contributions to Midwestern Literature

"Venturing into uneasy yet truthful territory, The Half-Life of Everything explores David's perspective and the frustrated sadness of his current situation. Only in his late fifties, he misses the physical and mental intimacy of his marriage. Kate, who's afflicted with early onset Alzheimer's, politely acknowledges his visits but offers little actual connection. He questions his fidelity and integrity, yet he still feels like he is in limbo—not divorced or widowed and free to pursue other relationships, but yearning for more than the shadowy void of Kate's absence. Though David does find Jane, an understanding new romantic partner, the story develops with quiet finesse beyond their involvement. Kate's trial medication begins to show remarkable results, and she finds herself returning to a life she once knew quite well, although both she and that life have changed. Through its shifting narrative and quirky, engaging characters, The Half-Life of Everything balances humor, candor, melancholy, and warmth. While Kate's Alzheimer's battle is integral to the plot, it is her recovery from the condition and her cautiously determined reentry into being herself that create the curious future no one expected her to have." - ForeWord Reviews

"If your book club is looking for stimulating reading that leads to conversation, here is one to consider." - Mary Ann Grossmann, Book Editor, The Pioneer Press (Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN)

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More Information

David and Kate are happily married fiftysomethings when she's diagnosed with early Alzheimer's. He has never been unfaithful, but after several years of losing Kate more each day, he wonders: What is a married widower supposed to do? Two strong-willed women intervene and everyone finds themselves making unexpected choices.

This discussion will open on February 19 and will stay open for at least six week.

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