Dave Eggers’s college girlfriend. After several months of dating, Eggers and Kirsten still feel “tentative” about the relationship, but then Kirsten comes home with Eggers for a visit and he tells her that his mother is terminally ill. She responds by telling him that her mother has a brain tumor. Because her father hasn’t been in her life since she was fourteen, this means that Kirsten, like Eggers, is on the brink of becoming an adult orphan. This common experience endears both them to each other, and their relationship takes on a new intensity. When Eggers, Beth, and Toph move to the west coast, Kirsten comes too because she has always wanted to live in California. Living for the summer in the same sublet as Eggers, she works and refuses financial help from anyone. The stress of making enough money eventually wears on her relationship with Eggers, so when they’re all required to leave the sublet, she and Eggers decide not to live together. From then on, they have an on-again-off-again relationship until, finally, they break up a year later.
Kirsten Character Timeline in A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
The timeline below shows where the character Kirsten appears in A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
...he lies, saying things are fine even though he has actually been dropping classes. “How’s Kirsten?” she asks, referring to his girlfriend. “She’s good,” he says, and even though he’s engaged... (full context)
...begin to snip and snap and complain.” This tension makes its way into Eggers and Kirsten’s relationship, especially because Kirsten—who doesn’t, like Eggers, have money from selling a house—refuses to let... (full context)