Brief Reviews, VOLUME 3

Brief Review: CLUTCHING DUST AND STARS: a Novel by Laryn Kragt Bakker [Vol. 3, #6]

A Brief Review of

Clutching Dust and Stars: A Novel.
Laryn Kragt Bakker.

Paperback: CINO Press, 2009.
Buy now:  [ CINO ]

Reviewed by Jeni Newswanger Smith.

In the vein of the recent movie (500) Days of Summer, Laryn Kragt Bakker’s Clutching Dust and Stars deals with the baggage, connection to and memories of the proverbial “one that got away.”  Since their relationship misfired 2 years ago, Natalie and Rob have become a little stuck.  Poised on the precipice of “real” adulthood, Natalie sees people growing up and changing around her, but wishes for things to stay the same.  Rob is unsatisfied with his life, drawn toward anarchism and more than a little suspicious of Natalie’s renewed faith.

Perhaps subconsciously, the two are drawn together, needing to go back and resolve before they can go forward–either together or apart.  Despite (or perhaps because of) characters who are overly self-aware and rarely sympathetic, Bakker’s debut novel provides a realistic glimpse into the lives two very different idealists.


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C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He is also author of a number of books, including most recently How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church (Brazos Press, 2019). Connect with him online at:

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