Lone Stars: A Novel (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

Three generations of a Texan family, played out over the decades, will fill your heart with sadness, joy, and ultimately hope that we will all get through this one life we have to live. Lacy's parents live in South Texas during the 50's-making money off the hard work of Mexicans. The secret that Lacy doesn't know is that her mother is Mexican. Fast forward to Austin in the late 60's where Lacy is doing her graduate work and corresponding with a soldier in Vietnam. His return and their love plays out until Aaron can no longer deal with marriage. Now we have Julian, their son, who is gay in a suburb of Houston, Royalwood (thinly disguised Kingwood). Julian excels a school and escapes to the East Coast to become a lawyer and fall in love. Each generation must deal with their own trials but the underlying love is there for all.

— Valerie


Generous and epic…takes us through generations of a singular family, whose loves and losses also tell us a story about America itself." —Eliot Schrefer, National Book Award finalist, author of Endangered

Justin Deabler's Lone Stars follows the arc of four generations of a Texan family in a changing America. Julian Warner, a father at last, wrestles with a question his husband posed: what will you tell our son about the people you came from, now that they're gone? Finding the answers takes Julian back in time to Eisenhower's immigration border raids, an epistolary love affair during the Vietnam War, crumbling marriages, queer migrations to Cambridge and New York, up to the disorienting polarization of Obama's second term. And in these answers lies a hope: that by uncloseting ourselves—as immigrants, smart women, gay people—we find power in empathy.

About the Author

Justin Deabler grew up in Houston. He dropped out of high school when he was fifteen, went to Simon's Rock College, and graduated from Harvard Law School. He is the General Counsel for the Queens Public Library. He lives in Brooklyn with his husband, son, and two cats. Lone Stars is his first novel.

Praise For…

"Desperately affecting...It’s a testament to the experience of reading Deabler’s novel that when I closed Lone Stars, I felt moved, for the first time in a long time, to call my father—because I could, a gift in itself." —The New York Times

"The characters of Lone Stars are complex and haunted, recognizable to Texans everywhere... immersive and more often a delight, sometimes a revelation. Deabler is a conductor of emotion... Lone Stars tells a universal story, as all good books do." —Lone Star Literary Life

“You’ll love this uplifting novel...It’s a tale of immigration and strong women that shines with hope.” —Good Housekeeping

"A worthy first novel by Justin Deabler... This fast-moving book fully and sympathetically illuminates the varied lives of the three Texans at the heart of the story. They go through serious ups and downs, and that’s what life—and good storytelling—is all about." —The Vietnam Veterans of America

"Deabler’s bighearted debut...this novel proudly and emotionally defines what it means to be from the Lone Star State." —Publisher's Weekly

"Growing up gay in Houston, Texas does not sound like a recipe for an easy life, but it is a rich, meaningful, and endlessly interesting life, portrayed with sensitivity and verve in Lone Stars, a triumphant debut by Justin Deabler." —Matthew Sharpe, author of The Sleeping Father

"Deabler's lovely first novel read as if preserved in amber--come from a gentler and more generous time. Enormously poignant, Lone Stars is written with great care, honoring the nuanced and shifting shapes of two men moving together through the great journey of being fully alive... It illuminates with its tenderness, it's quiet clarity, and finally its vision of hope." —Carole Maso, author of Ava

“Deabler's wide-ranging empathy and emotional intelligence mark him as an important new writer to watch.” —Eliot Schrefer, National Book Award finalist, author of Endangered and Threatened

“At once epic and timely, Deabler's stunning multi-generational novel is a deep dive into the complexities of family and identity. It is a reminder of how frequently American history repeats, a complicated love song to Texas, and (I'll be honest) a tear-jerker. You won't be able to set this one down.” —Diana Spechler, author of Who by Fire and Skinny

"Lone Stars is a wonderfully humane and honest novel about a complicated modern American family. This perfectly paced story builds on secrets, betrayals and unconditional love toward a big-hearted ending that may leave you in tears." —Jim Lynch, author of Before the Wind

Product Details
ISBN: 9781250256102
ISBN-10: 1250256100
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: February 2nd, 2021
Pages: 304
Language: English