Small Spaces

Brooklyn novelist Sarah Gerard's grandfather sweater gets guests talking

By Ashley P. Taylor  | February 10, 2015 - 3:59PM

Brooklyn writer Sarah Gerard has been in the spotlight since the January release of her debut novel, Binary Star (Two Dollar Radio), which tells the story of an anorexic woman's struggles with her alcoholic boyfriend, as well as their cross-country road trip. The book has landed on annual most-anticipated booklists at Bustle, TimeOut, The Millions, Buzzfeed, and Gawker, and continues to win acclaim. 

Though she wrote Binary Star in near isolation in a rented Florida trailer, she now shares a studio in Kensington with her husband, filmmaker David Formentin. (Full disclosure: she is a friend of mine.) As is so often the case in small apartments, items can end up on display unintentionally—so it is with her grandfather’s Coogi sweater, which Gerard inherited after he passed away two years ago. If the sweater happens to be out, people do ask about it; sometimes she decides to show it off:

Gerard, above, was so confident she'd raise funds for a book tour, she scheduled readings across the country before getting the money (Photo credit: Josh Wool)

I don’t want to keep it with the rest of my stuff in my closet, because my closet’s really small, so I keep moving it around to different locations in the apartment where it doesn’t get, like, smushed. For a while it was just hanging on the shower rod, and then when I would take a shower, I would move it outside the door, and then it was hanging on the back of my closet door, where it’s off the floor. I’m really looking for a good place. It’s hard to store things in our apartment in such a way that they won’t get shoved around because there’s not a lot of room in there.

"Binary Star" is Gerard's first novel; she is now working on an essay collection (Photo credit: Amazon)

When Coogis first became popular back in the ‘90s, my grandfather was very taken with them and bought something like 20 of them. He was very proud of them and took really good care of them, and then when they fell out of style, he just boxed them all up in Tupperware containers and kept them in his closet. So when he died in 2012, all of us [remaining relatives] took one. Apparently the cardigans are back in style now. I was actually wearing one on the street the other day and I walked by some guy who was on the phone, and when he saw me, he goes, “Oh my God; is that a Coogi?” and I said “Yeah,” and he goes, “That’s sick!” I said, “Thank you.”


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