Challenger Park by Stephen Harrigan

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From the author of the acclaimed and best-selling The Gates of the Alamo, a novel of extraordinary power about what it’s like, and what it means, to journey into space as one of today’s astronauts.

At the novel’s center: Lucy Kincheloe, an astronaut married to an astronaut, the loving mother of two young children, with a fierce ambition to excel in the space program. Her husband, Brian, a rigorous man whose dreams of glory have been blighted by two star-crossed missions. Walt Womack, the steady, unflappable leader of the training team that prepares Lucy for her first shuttle flight.

Lucy has devoted years of intense and focused effort to win her place on a mission, but as her lifelong dream of flying in space comes true, her familiar world appears to be falling apart around her. Her marriage is deteriorating. Her son’s asthma is growing more serious. Her relationship with Walt Womack is becoming dangerously intimate. And when at last she is in space, 240 miles above the earth, and an accident renders the world she left behind appallingly distant—perhaps unreachable—her spirit is tested in gripping and unexpected ways.

In The Gates of the Alamo, Stephen Harrigan’s narrative authority brought a vanished nineteenth-century Texas to vibrant life. In Challenger Park, he does the same with the world of space flight, bringing us up close to the lives—the risks, the friendships, the rituals, the training—of the astronauts and the people who work with them. Harrigan has written an exciting—indeed a thrilling—novel about the contrary pulls of home and adventure, reality and dreams, and the unimaginable experience, the joys and terrors and revelations, of space flight itself.

From the Hardcover edition.

About Stephen Harrigan

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Stephen Harrigan is the author of seven previous books of fiction and nonfiction, including the novels Challenger Park and the New York Times bestseller The Gates of the Alamo. A longtime writer for Texas Monthly and other magazines, he is also an award-winning screenwriter who has written many movies for television. He is a faculty fellow at the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas and a founding member of Capital Area Statues, Inc.

Author Residence: Austin, TX
Published April 4, 2006 by Ballantine Books. 432 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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She’s a brilliant young woman who’s made the slate as an astronaut and will soon be bound for the outer limits: “She had not yet flown in space, but she lived, had always lived, for the day when her rational, achieving mind would earn her a mystical departure from the earth.” Yet she has two youn...

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The New York Times

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Harrigan does an especially good job with the physical peculiarities of space flight, from the weightless mosquito Lucy notices in front of her visor during liftoff to the way astronauts back on Earth will "thoughtlessly let go" of a glass they're holding, expecting it to "hover in place" instead...

Apr 09 2006 | Read Full Review of Challenger Park

Publishers Weekly

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When Lucy is assigned a routine resupply of the international space station, the interest of training team leader Walt Womack, a bland, grieving widower, draws Lucy to him, leading to a secret affair, over which there is a lot of hand-wringing but little action.

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Bookmarks Magazine

ISBN: 0375412050 NY Times Book Review 4.5 of 5 Stars "Challenger Park turns out to be a fine, absorbing achievement, probably the best science-factual novel about the space-faring worlds of Houston and Cape Canaveral in the nearly half-century since the first astronauts were chosen.

Aug 29 2007 | Read Full Review of Challenger Park

Austin Chronicle

Lucy and crew have been painstakingly prepared for every possible catastrophe as they dock with an orbiting space station where Lucy will complete her first space walk, which is, of course, marred by the one catastrophe they didn't quite expect.

Mar 31 2006 | Read Full Review of Challenger Park

The Space Review

Most novels that involve space in general or NASA in particular focus far more on the technology than on the characters.

Apr 24 2006 | Read Full Review of Challenger Park

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