“We hold in one hand a cluster of stars, and in the other a morsel of dust.”
-The Kabbalah

Clutching Dust and StarsNatalie and Rob are twenty-somethings who have been out of school for a few years and are charting various paths of downward mobility. A shadow of 1999's “Battle of Seattle” can be felt in the streets of Bellingham in late 2000 and early 2001, the setting of the novel. Natalie has retreated into the back room of a thrift shop with canvas and paint. Rob has abandoned his dream of edgy mainstream journalism and is trying to empower himself with photocopies and stickers.

Both Rob and Natalie have pasts that need tending and futures that need planning, and a random encounter with each other in a Mexican restaurant forces them to begin that work as they are drawn back into each other's world while feeling repelled at the same time. The story follows the tensions between various poles: dust and stars, apathy and idealism, love and sadness, disbelief and faith, graffiti and art, Rob and Natalie.

About the Author

Laryn Kragt Bakker was born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He has a degree in graphic design and computer science from Dordt College and is currently living in Memphis, TN with his family. He painted the original cover art used for the novel. In addition to writing and art, he is a graphic designer and web developer for non-profit organizations. This is his debut novel.

Publishing details

The novel is published by *culture is not optional and was originally released on November 20, 2009. This site will host a small blog with periodic entries about the process of writing and some of the decisions that were made at the outset of the project.

Named "Best First Novel, 2009" by Hearts and Minds!

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