Celeste Miller is a 29-year-old teacher who spends her days helping disadvantaged kids write poetry and her nights drinking too many cocktails in crummy bars. Then she meets Alex, a handsome investment banker with a sleek Manhattan penthouse, who sweeps Celeste into his life. Months later, he proposes. She is finally cared for, but also stifled by Alex’s perfectionism and violent temper. The demons of her childhood — her mother’s mysterious death when Celeste was 10 and her best friend Sally’s suicide — reveal why Celeste has spiraled into alcoholism and why she clings to the security Alex provides. A deeply honest novel written in lyrical prose that takes hold of the reader, CELESTE ASCENDING speaks to women struggling with self-doubt and looking for the courage to remake their lives.
“Celeste’s tale is stylish and funny but also moving, and readers will find themselves rooting for this flawed, endearing heroine as she confronts her alcoholism and tries to make sense of her life.”
Kaylie Jones’ novels are a pure joy to read, and Celeste Ascending is splendid!
-Winston Groom, author of Forrest Gump
Celeste Ascending is a luminous portrait of a young woman confronted by contradictions: the chasm between longing and contentment, the material sickness of American culture versus the ascetic life of the artist, and the hard fought scramble toward grace that necessitates facing the biggest contradiction of all, who we are and were versus who we are becoming and want to be.
-Robin Hemley, author of The Last Studebaker
Mesmerizing, absorbing – I felt I was hearing the confidences of a true friend.
-Tama Janowitz, author of A Certain Age
Celeste Ascending teaches us all the importance of telling ourselves the truth if we’re ever to find our souls. In Celeste’s journey to come to terms with her family, her men, her drinking, and her life, she shows us the perils of self deception and the rewards of bravery that start her on the road to herself. I was cheering for her all the way.
-Barbara Esstman, author of Night Ride Home
Kaylie Jones poetically, vividly, and skillfully creates a bell jar of a stifling rich world in a complicated heroine who smashes her way out. Jones is knowing about life, love, and the search for one’s identity. She certainly has found her own.
-Barabara Goldsmith, author of Other Powers
Celeste’s journey is irresistible and involving from the first page. She is both familiar and exceptionally brave – and the grandmother is magnifique!
-Alice Elliott Dark, author of In The Gloaming