Kiss the Sky

A Novel

About The Book


From political commentator, book author, and multimedia personality Farai Chideya comes an intense and darkly funny debut novel about a woman who learns what you stand to gain -- and lose -- if you follow your dreams of fame.

Sophie Maria Clare Lee doesn't have the résumé of a rock star. She grew up a book-smart black girl in blue-collar Baltimore, then remade herself at Harvard into a hipster with an appetite for self-destructive men. One of them is the mesmerizing Ari Klein, a charismatic and handsome black-biracial trust-fund baby. Ari is her Harvard classmate, the man she toured America with as part of an indie rock band right after college, and -- by the time we meet Sophie at the start of the novel -- her ex-husband.

Ten years after graduation, Sophie has made a career as a music television host in Manhattan. But she's grown restless of interviewing pop culture icons and wannabes enjoying their fifteen minutes of fame. Spurred into a one-night musical reunion with Ari in order to help a friend, Sophie decides it's time to stop playing the good girl and snatch back the mic. She wants to be the next "It girl" in the music media circuit.

Sophie has the talent and drive to take her game to the next level despite the odds. She lands a record deal -- with the help of a new manager and paramour, Leo Masters -- but quickly discovers that her celebrity status brings new risks for her sense of self and even her safety. As she and Ari begin to play music together again, Sophie, Leo, and Ari also enter a complicated love triangle. It puts her in personal jeopardy just as she's beginning to achieve commercial success. With a Greek chorus of advice from her two best girlfriends from Harvard, Sophie tries to figure out how she relates to these two men, the music business, her loving but demanding extended family, and her penchant for alcohol and melancholy. As the band tours America, Europe, and Africa, will Sophie's faith, family, and friendships crumble under the weight of her dogged fight for fame?

About The Author

Photograph by Ajit Jagdale

Farai Chideya has combined media, technology, and socio-political analysis during her twenty-year career as an award-winning author, journalist, professor, and lecturer. She is a senior writer at the data journalism organization FiveThirtyEight, and has taught at New York University and Harvard. She frequently appears on public radio and cable television, speaking about race, politics, and culture. She was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, and graduated magna cum laude with a BA from Harvard University in 1990. Find out more at Farai.com.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Atria Books (May 12, 2009)
  • Length: 368 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781416586012

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Raves and Reviews

“[An] engaging shout-out to the rock-and-roll life.”
—Booklist

“Mesmerizing and charismatic. . . .
This imaginatively rich novel is a must-read.”
—Feminist Review

“This effervescent novel hits the right note every time. It may end up being a defining novel of the Obama generation.”
—Colin Channer, author of The Girl with the Golden Shoes

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