By Leah Greenblatt
Updated October 27, 2006 at 04:00 AM EDT

Louise Wener, a former U.K. pop star, explores the family ties that bind (and sometimes gag). The narrator of The Half Life of Stars is wayward divorcée Claire, whose successful, responsible older brother Daniel goes missing. She leaves gray, gray London for sun-soaked Miami, following the trail of a man whose emotional state she struggles to understand, while also grappling with her mother, sister, and suddenly not-so-ex ex-husband. A handful of plot inconsistencies and sour narrative notes besmirch Wener’s finely honed descriptions of love, loss, and the tricks of memory, but the melody of her words still resonates.

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