The Light Years : A Memoir
by Chris Rush


Overview -

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.

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More About The Light Years by Chris Rush
 
 
 
Overview

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.


 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780374294410
  • ISBN-10: 0374294410
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publish Date: April 2019
  • Page Count: 384
  • Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.35 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Biography & Autobiography > Personal Memoirs
Books > Biography & Autobiography > Artists, Architects, Photographers

 
BookPage Reviews

The Light Years

There is a saying: If you remember the 1960s, you must not have been there. If you were, and went on to enjoy—or survive—their segue into the ’70s, Chris Rush’s mesmerizing memoir, The Light Years, may cause some fine flashbacks. But if you know those drug-addled days only by reputation and the sounds of their haze-spawned music, Rush’s detail-laden account of his turbulent adolescence will be quite an eye-opener.

The middle child of seven in a well-off New Jersey family that knew how to party, Rush was an artistic, sexually conflicted misfit. His alcoholic father loathed him, his mother protected him, and his older sister introduced him to marijuana and LSD by the time he was 12—“sacraments,” she called them, not to be confused with heroin or cocaine, which would come later. Rush remembers his acid trips with poetic clarity. Watching an American flag-clad Frisbee player at a party, he saw “stroboscopic trails” following him, “frame by frame by frame. I began to think of the awfulness of the [Vietnam] war, of dead bodies piled in the sun. Maybe the glitter-acid was coming on a little too strong.”

After his father threatened to kill him, Rush left the private school where he was peddling drugs and followed his sister out west—California, Arizona, Idaho, Wyoming—and into the business of storing and selling drugs. Living in “stash houses” and partaking of the inventory, Rush grew to love tripping in the wild of the mountains, adding hashish to his repertoire, spending months alone and sketching his drug-fueled fantasies. He came down into the hill towns to call his mother collect, to let her know he was alive and to be cautioned not to come home. Lovers and friends along the way seemed as lost as he was.

Today a celebrated Tucson artist, Rush recounts his troubled journey not as a cautionary tale but as a testament to a time when finding a place in the real world could be life-saving. For him, it was learning to bake a pie and sharing it with a friend. For his reader, this redeeming affirmation comes as both revelation and relief.

 
BAM Customer Reviews