The Night of the Comet

The Night of the Comet A KIRKUS REVIEWS BEST BOOKS OF From the acclaimed author of Letter to My Daughter comes an engrossing coming of age tale that deftly conveys the hopes and heartaches of adolescence and the unfulf

  • Title: The Night of the Comet
  • Author: George Bishop
  • ISBN: 9780345516008
  • Page: 443
  • Format: Hardcover
  • A KIRKUS REVIEWS BEST BOOKS OF 2013 From the acclaimed author of Letter to My Daughter comes an engrossing coming of age tale that deftly conveys the hopes and heartaches of adolescence and the unfulfilled dreams that divide a family, played out against the backdrop of a small southern town in 1973 For his fourteenth birthday, Alan Broussard, Jr receives a telescopeA KIRKUS REVIEWS BEST BOOKS OF 2013 From the acclaimed author of Letter to My Daughter comes an engrossing coming of age tale that deftly conveys the hopes and heartaches of adolescence and the unfulfilled dreams that divide a family, played out against the backdrop of a small southern town in 1973 For his fourteenth birthday, Alan Broussard, Jr receives a telescope from his father, a science teacher at the local high school who s eagerly awaiting what he promises will be the astronomical event of the century the coming of Comet Kohoutek For Alan Broussard, Sr frustrated in his job, remote from his family the comet is a connection to his past and a bridge to his son, with whom he s eager to share his love for the stars But the only heavenly body Junior has any interest in is his captivating new neighbor and classmate, Gabriella Martello, whose bedroom sits within eyeshot of his telescope s lens Meanwhile, his mother, Lydia, sees the comet and her husband s obsession with it as one thing that keeps her from the bigger, brighter life she once imagined for herself far from the swampy environs of Terrebonne, Louisiana With Kohoutek drawing ever closer, the family begins to crumble under the weight of expectations, until a startling turn of events will leave both father and son much less certain about the laws that govern their universe Illuminating and unforgettable, The Night of the Comet is a novel about the perils of growing up, the longing for connection, and the idea that love and redemption can be found among the stars.Advance praise for The Night of the Comet A quiet, occasionally bittersweet novel about the differences between desire and disappointment, expectations and reality Booklist Hilarious and heart wrenching, ethereal and earthy, The Night of the Comet points us to the fragile universe of dreams and disappointments, joy and tragedy, saying here it is, all of it feast your eyes on the magic It s a heavenly book Nobody writes about the gravitational pull of parent child relationships all that we yearn for and all that we can t have like George Bishop Minrose Gwin, author of The Queen of Palmyra Equally sweet and sad, this is a fine novel of love and forgiveness Stewart O Nan, author of Snow Angels Bishop s one of our best, and this book s a quiet marvel Josh Russell, author of Yellow Jack A deft, clear eyed, and sensitive examination of the mysterious bonds of family, the allure of the unattainable, and love and desire and their consequences in all their many forms Ellen Baker, author of I Gave My Heart to Know This

    One thought on “The Night of the Comet”

    1. Full disclosure: I received this book as a giveaway directly from the publisher, Random House, thanks to Ashley. This, however, is my honest review.A wonderful coming-of-age novel that features the Broussard family, chiefly Alan Broussard, Junior (Junior to everyone) as well as his father Alan, his mother Lydia, and his older sister Megan. Junior recalls the night of Comet Kohoutek's supposedly spectacular arrival passing earth, twenty-six years earlier, and all the events that leads up to this [...]

    2. “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. From the desperate city you go into the desperate country, and have to console yourself with the bravery of minks and muskrats. A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind. There is no play in them, for this comes after work. But it is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things.” -- Henry David Thoreau, "Walden [...]

    3. If you’ve ever felt as though you’re living a life you weren’t supposed to live; if you’ve ever felt ashamed of your family; if you’ve ever felt that love is something reserved for fairy tales; if you’ve ever felt uncertain of the laws that govern your universe; heck, even if you’re just fascinated with astronomy; you are going to love George Bishop’s The Night of the Comet.I haven’t read a book yet that’s more relatable and real than The Night of the Comet. From the first se [...]

    4. Choosing a single idea or image to rest a story on is difficult to do well. Often, the overuse of symbolic significance will begin to weigh down the story. Thankfully, this is intelligently avoided by Bishop. The comet is a thematic touchstone throughout, though doesn’t overwhelm the personal story. Told from the perspective of an awkward teenager, rather too like his eccentric father, the plot weaves the emotional relationships of the son and his parents with a good level of realism. The fath [...]

    5. I wasn’t looking forward to a book that has “coming-of-age story” slapped on the cover. I’ve done coming-of-age stories. To death, I think. But this little book surprised me. Don’t let that hackneyed phrase prejudice you against reading this book. Yes, it is a “coming-of-age story.” But the characters are completely fresh and the story is compelling. I loved this book.Night of the Comet is a story about a man, a family, a town waiting for Comet Kohoutek. Alan Broussard, Jr. tells t [...]

    6. This book was a pretty good read. I enjoyed reading this story about family and getting ready to see the comet Kohoutek during the 1960's and 70's in Louisiana. Definitely check this one out.

    7. I got the ARC version of this one. Actually what made me request this book from NetGalley is just because the title and the cover. Somehow it’s attracted me. I didn't even know about the author or his previous work at that time. This is my first read of his work. And…apparently, this is my first read of ARC books. So, I’m kind of nervous to read this one. Maybe pessimist is an exact word of it. I thought this book will be boring and just so-so book. Just because I never heard of the author [...]

    8. Wow, wow, WOW - seriously, this is one of the best novels I have read. The Night of the Comet is beautifully written, engaging, perceptive and thought-provoking. The characters are so well-drawn. This is a thoroughly satisfying read!

    9. It's 1973 in the small town of Terrebonne, Louisiana. Alan Broussard, Jr. (aka "Junior") has just turned 14, and his mind is on many of the same things other 14-year-olds think about—trying to fit in at school, trying not to let his parents embarrass him, and, more importantly, girls—especially his new neighbor, the beautiful Gabriella Martello.When Junior's father, an awkward high school science teacher and frustrated scientist, buys Junior a top-of-the-line telescope for his birthday, he d [...]

    10. Night of the Comet is a great coming of age book by George Bishop. It is set in the 1970's in southern Louisiana. I did enjoy the book and I think most people can relate to the story. Alan Broussard, Jr is just starting high school and this is his story. It is full of ups and downs and the disappointments that go along with growing up.From the acclaimed author of Letter to My Daughter comes an engrossing coming-of-age tale that deftly conveys the hopes and heartaches of adolescence, and the unfu [...]

    11. The Night of the Comet is a beautiful story about a family whose life is about to unravel when an exciting family moves in across the way. A coming of age story about a young boy whose quirky father's obsession with a comet is going to test the family in ways they never imagined. It is 1973 and for his 14th birthday Alan Broussard "Junior" is gifted with a telescope by his father, but he is more interested in observing the new girl than any stars or comet. He is not the only family member enthra [...]

    12. The Night of the Comet conveys the hopes and heartaches of adolescence and the unresolved issues that endanger a marriage. The setting is 1973 Baton Rouge and Alan Broussard Jr.'s fourteenth birthday. His family wear hats and have cake while the father brings out the gift, a Celestron D8 telescope. Alan realizes it is what his father has wanted, since he teaches science at the high school, but he soon learns to enjoy it because it lets him get a close-up view of the girl in his class he has a cr [...]

    13. In the prologue to this story, adult Alan shares his teenage memory of his father's raincoat flying behind him like the tail of a comet as he leaps from the town water tower. What follows is the compelling story of a middle class, 1970s suburban/small town Louisiana family's downward spiral that leads to the remembered night. Reading this book is like watching a car crash - you want to look away because you think you know what is going to happen, but you can't stop. High school teacher Alan Sr. [...]

    14. On the surface, The Night of the Comet appears to be a sweet tale of a high school science teacher fascinated by Comet Kohoutek during the year 1973. However, as with many things in life, there is much more to this book than meets the eye. George Bishop is a supreme storyteller and has actually written a hard-hitting commentary on the consequences of the many different choices we make in our lives, especially those involving love and family. This is an emotional roller coaster and a beautiful re [...]

    15. Very enjoyable read! There was something so gentle and old-fashioned about the way this story unfolded that I couldn't help but be carried along. The voice of the young protagonist is so clear and true. The comet details are fascinating, of course, but it is the day-to-day trials of fear and hope, loss and love, that make this tale a poignant glimpse of real life and real people. Thanks, George Bishop.

    16. Originally posted on Literary Excursion.I think this book and I started off on the completely wrong foot, with me expecting something it wasn’t, and wanting things from it that it ended up not giving me. I’m pretty sure after reading The Night of the Comet that I’m not a fan of either realistic fiction or stories that read like contemporary (although technically this is a historical fiction). I tried my best to like this book, and to want to read it, but it took me the course of two weeks [...]

    17. I received The Night of the Comet as a giveaway from Random House, in exchange for an honest review.I finished the book some time ago, but have been mulling it over in my mind before writing this review. I really wanted to give this more stars, but I could not.This is a family's story, taking place in 1973, but narrated by the son from the distance of 23 years. Themes abound: the narrator's coming to grips with adolescence, his first, electric physical encounter with that crush he thought was un [...]

    18. In The Night of the Comet, by George Bishop, a family faces one of the most difficult challenges it can, its own passions. Told from the point of view of Alan, the teenage son, it focuses on his relationship with his dad, a high school science teacher who has become obsessed with a comet. Alan’s dad spreads word of the comet throughout town, filling people with expectations for a spectacular viewing. The comet is not the only object of desire. A new family moves into the area, rich and glamoro [...]

    19. This story is about a boy and a family who find themselves. Set in the 1970's, it has a wonderfully authentic feel. 14 year old Alan Brossaurd, Jr begins the narration embarrassed by his father and ends with a newfound understanding and respect for the man. But this novel also investigates marriage and family dynamics, how we both love and disappoint one another deeply, and what we make if life when it doesn't turn out the way we had planned. Here's a favorite passage: “That very same morning, [...]

    20. A blazing star whizzing through the literary heavens! The Night of the Comet is a wonderful coming-of-age book about the dramas of a '70's-era family in Louisiana. Fourteen-year-old Alan Broussard "Junior" receives a telescope as a gift from his father. It is not a gift he particularly wants. His father, a high school science and astronomy teacher, is happy he can share his love of the stars with his son. Unknowingly at the time, the telescope will be one of the things that drives his family apa [...]

    21. This book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I really enjoyed reading this. It takes place in the year 1975 and is a great coming of age story about 14year old Alan Broussard. Alan lives in a small town in Louisiana with his slightly dysfunctional family - nerdy father who is a high school science teacher, a bored, stay-at-home mom who is tired of her life and looking for something different and his "hippie" older sister. Alan has only 1 good friend and is really j [...]

    22. I very much enjoyed this book, and thought it very well written.Albeit a tragic story of a dysfunctional family, who just didn't know how to connect, or how to go about obtaining it. (I also thought it reflective of families who strive for the "The Great American Dream", but in their eyes, never seem to achieve it. They get caught up in the pursuit of the dream, wanting more, wanting bigger and better. Then suddenly realize they have had their "American Dream" all along, and didn't appreciate wh [...]

    23. A well-crafted and realistic novel encompassing a family’s dreams, obsessions and resilience. The story is told from the perspective of a 14 year old boy named Alan who lives in a Louisiana small town, a bookworm who is on the cusp of meeting his first love. Enter his father, a geeky science teacher who gives Alan a telescope for his birthday. The gift turns out to be one Alan’s dad uses more and who becomes pre-occupied with the approaching Kohoutek comet. So obsessively so, that his famili [...]

    24. I won a copy of this book through First Reads and was so excited to receive it! I thoroughly enjoyed George Bishop's first book "Letter to My Daughter" and was eager to read this one. The cover is gorgeous (not on my ARC, but the actual book cover). The book is a coming of age story set in a small town in Louisiana in 1973. The year the Comet Kohoutek is set to make an amazing debut. Alan Broussard Jr or Junior, as we come to know him, is 14 years old - desperately in love with the new neighbor [...]

    25. hmmmmm, thinking about what did I think about this book. Not sure. I liked it, yet it leaves me wanting more, or something different, or I'm not even sure what. I seem to be struggling with endings lately, and once again this ending seemed all too abrupt. Perhaps because I was never a teenage boy I was sometimes lost on Junior's coming-of-age journey. I was a teenager, so some of his experiences made sense, but others left me wanting. I was 11 during the time of Kohoutek and vaguely remember, or [...]

    26. ARC provided by Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine via NetGalley for an honest review.Welcome to the life of a 14 year old who just entered in the most messed up age in his whole life.Throw in a man whose dreams are too big and who's stuck in a town where he doesn't get valued enough. That man is a father, a husband and a scientist, but to him only one of those things really matters.Add to that a woman who once was a starry eyed teenager with big dreams and now is feeling like she's suff [...]

    27. I really liked this book. I remember when this happened and the Comet Kohoutek was going to come and light up the night sky with it's once in a lifetime brilliance. Everyone was so excited and some people I know remember when Halleys Comet was last here. Their talk of that and what they experienced made this up coming event truly stellar. Well Comet Kohoutek was a big bust! You could not see it and we were all so disappointed. I remember how I really wanted to stand outside and gaze upon this st [...]

    28. Interesting book ~ could be called historical fiction because it was set in 1973 & also had lots of comet lore surrounding historical ancient comet visitations to our solar system & galaxy. The book also thoroughly addresses what it felt like in the 1970's for a teenager whose father was a geeky science teacher with a modest income instead of a jock/coach or a man who was "in oil" & had lots of money. And what happened when the teacher's wife had a fling with the "oil man" neighbor. [...]

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