The Pink Bus


Less than a month before Election Day, the Democratic nominee for United States Senate in Texas – a gay reality television star named Patrick Francis Monaghan– takes to the stage to deliver a speech that might set him on the course to victory.

But before the candidate can begin, he is shot twice in the stomach by an assassin – and soon finds himself on an operating table perilously clinging to life.

So begins THE PINK BUS, a bold and uncommonly timely novel by Christopher Kelly that introduces us to one of the most indelible characters in recent fiction – a Garp for the twenty-first century.

As doctors work frantically to save him, The Pink Bus takes us on an epic journey through the first forty years of Patrick’s life: as a child in Staten Island, in the middle 1980s, where he first comes face-to-face with the AIDS crisis; as a sulky post-collegiate who accuses his boss of sexual harassment, after his boss recommends that he read Michael Cunningham’s The Hours; as a rudderless thirtysomething in Texas, who finally begins to find his voice, by way of a hopelessly slick reality TV show.

Along the way, we also meet Patrick’s closest collaborators: Nora Meacham, his ambitious best friend, a political strangest who hopes Patrick’s success will help to quell her own feelings of restlessness; and Oscar Davison, Patrick’s deputy campaign manager and secret boyfriend, who keeps pressuring the candidate to marry him.

As we wait to find out if Patrick will survive – and whether he might yet pull off an extraordinary electoral upset – what emerges is a fascinating study of a man trying to gain a foothold in a world where progress sometimes takes place too quickly to even process; and a kaleidoscopic portrait of a divided nation that has a dreadful habit of destroying its most inspiring leaders.

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