Recorded Books. Dec. 2023. 507p. 5:07 hrs. ISBN 9798890594389. $15.99. F
Six astronauts orbit Earth in the International Space Station in Harvey’s (The Western Wind) superb, poetic novel, structured around the 16 Earth orbits that make up one day on the station. She beautifully describes the astronauts’ views of the planet: its many changing colors, the catastrophic storms that they can only watch from high above, the damage done by humans, and the changes brought by the passage of the hours. Each astronaut thinks about loved ones on the planet while also remembering the circumstances that put them on the space station. This is not a novel where anything much happens; it is instead a gorgeous meditation on humanity, the foolishness of artificial borders, and what the future might bring. Narrator Sarah Naudi channels the thoughtfulness of Harvey’s luminous prose, making the tedium of space travel beautiful while contrasting it with the sheer terror of space walks. The astronauts become a community that is almost organically one; at times, it feels like they could be the only humans in existence. The writing and narration are positively transformative, and what could be dull in another author’s hands becomes exquisite in Harvey’s.
VERDICT This brief, elegiac novel is generating major buzz, so expect high demand.
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