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Descripción de editorial
Lambda Literary Award Finalist | A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice
Named a best book of 2019 by Parade
The Light Years is a joyous and defiant coming-of-age memoir set during one of the most turbulent times in American history
"This stunningly beautiful, original memoir is driven by a search for the divine, a quest that leads Rush into some dangerous places . . . The Light Years is funny, harrowing, and deeply tender." —Kate Tuttle, The L.A. Times
"Rush is a fantastically vivid writer, whether he’s remembering a New Jersey of 'meatballs and Windex and hairspray' or the dappled, dangerous beauty of Northern California, where 'rock stars lurked like lemurs in the trees.' Read if you loved… Just Kids by Patti Smith." —Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly
“As mythic and wild with love, possibility, and danger as the decades it spans, you’ll read The Light Years with your breath held. Brutal, buoyant and wise to the tender terror of growing up, Chris Rush has written a timeless memoir of boyhood in the American wilderness.” —Emma Cline, author of The Girls
Chris Rush was born into a prosperous, fiercely Roman Catholic, New Jersey family. But underneath the gleaming mid-century house, the flawless hostess mom, and the thriving businessman dad ran an unspoken tension that, amid the upheaval of the late 1960s, was destined to fracture their precarious facade.
His older sister Donna introduces him to the charismatic Valentine, who places a tab of acid on twelve-year-old Rush’s tongue, proclaiming: “This is sacrament. You are one of us now.”
After an unceremonious ejection from an experimental art school, Rush heads to Tucson to make a major drug purchase and, still barely a teenager, disappears into the nascent American counterculture. Stitching together a ragged assemblage of lowlifes, prophets, and fellow wanderers, he seeks kinship in the communes of the west. His adolescence is spent looking for knowledge, for the divine, for home. Given what Rush confronts on his travels—from ordinary heartbreak to unimaginable violence—it is a miracle he is still alive.
The Light Years is a prayer for vanished friends, an odyssey signposted with broken and extraordinary people. It transcends one boy’s story to perfectly illustrate the slow slide from the optimism of the 1960s into the darker and more sinister 1970s. This is a riveting, heart-stopping journey of discovery and reconciliation, as Rush faces his lost childhood and, finally, himself.
In this vibrant memoir, artist Rush recounts his strange and colorful childhood and adolescence, from his upbringing in an affluent but turbulent New Jersey home to trying to find his place in the 1970s drug and art scene. Eccentric and with an extremely high IQ, Rush was often seen as a problem child, embarrassing his father by making paper flowers or wandering the neighborhood in a pink silk cape. Later, he overheard his father telling his mother, "The boy is a goddamn queer," and his parents sent him to Catholic boarding school, where he was bullied and expelled a year later for kissing another boy. At home, his favorite sister, Donna, had become involved with a group of hippies who smoked pot, which she introduced to the 11-year-old Rush as a "sacrament." It was the first time he'd found people who accepted him ("You're one of us now," Valentine, a dealer, told him). Thus began Chris's journey into drug use and the blossoming American counterculture. Rush's storytelling shines as he travels across the country and back again, searching for truth, love, UFOs in New Mexico, peace, something that feels like God, and a place to call home. This is a mesmerizing record of his journey through adolescence.