For kings and planets : a novel

by Ethan Canin

Hardcover, 1998




New York : Random House, c1998.


The story of two young men, vastly different and from opposite worlds, who meet at Columbia University. One, Orno, comes from a small town in Missouri, unsophisticated and hopelessly behind. The other, Marshall, is a brilliant New Yorker who lives right on the edge.

User reviews

LibraryThing member kvanuska
With this, his second novel, Canin shows us he's learned from the mistakes of his first. While he dives into nearly the same waters as Blue River, this time he strips bare the relationship between two friends rather than two brothers.

For Kings and Planets, follows Orno and Marshall from their
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first days as students at Columbia University through their mid-to-late twenties, as they settle into careers that surprise them. It is easy to grow impatient with Orno and his uncertainties which allow him to fall victim time and again to Marshall's manipulations. If this story feels familiar, it is -- Nick Carraway and Jay Gatsby are everywhere -- but it still makes for a satisfying read. Canin still loves his own words on the page a bit too much; the overwriting bogs the novel down, chokes it with unnecessary severity and grimness. Canin could use a Maxwell Perkins in his life.

In For Kings and Planets, Canin has learned that, from beginning to end, a novel needs the kind of peeks and chasms that, if mapped, would look like a heartbeat on a monitor. All-in-all, this novel is proof that Canin has a novelist inside himself and he's a hard-working Joe at his trade.
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LibraryThing member sweans
While I thought the writing in this book was very good, not a single character was likable.



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