Coming of age in ‘The Night of the Comet’

Posted Sunday, Jul. 28, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
More information The Night of the Comet By George Bishop Ballantine, $25

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For the followup to his first novel ( Letter to My Daughter), author George Bishop sets The Night of the Comet in 1973 Terrebonne, La. — a fictitious small town deep in Cajun Country. Bishop, who lives in New Orleans, borrowed memories from his childhood in Jackson, La., to populate the much more exotic Terrebonne.

“A couple of gas stations, a handful of shops, two schools and a water tower ... I could circumnavigate my whole world in a half hour on my bike. Those were the kind of things I borrowed for my novel,” Bishop said in press material.

The buildup for the arrival of the Comet Kohoutek, the so-called “comet of the century,” has begun and our narrator, 14-year-old Alan Broussard Jr., receives a telescope as a birthday gift from his father, the high school science teacher who is eager to share his astral obsession — and maybe make a connection — with his son. Meanwhile, Junior would rather spy on the new girl across the bayou than train his telescope to the skies.

Part coming-of-age novel and part family saga (which the author said he prefers), there’s a story thread for all four members of the family — frustrated father, unhappy mother, sister and Junior. And, of course, Comet Kohoutek.

“I still don’t own a telescope, although since writing the book, I think I’d like to get one now,” Bishop said in press materials.

Just in time for the arrival of Comet Ison in November.

— Celeste Williams

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