Author(s): Lily Brooks-Dalton
Augustine, a brilliant, ageing scientist, is fascinated by the stars. For years he has scanned the universe, trying to quantify infinity, to find that first moment in history. When news of a catastrophic event arrives at the remote research centre in the Arctic circle where he works, he elects to stay behind. But shortly after the last airlift departs, Augustine discovers a child - Iris. She rarely speaks but hums an eerie tune. In spite of the observatory's state of the art equipment, Augustine is unable to establish contact with the outside world; all communication has gone dark. Time means very little in deep space. Mission Specialist Sullivan, a divorced astronaut and mother, is aboard the Aether, on its return flight from Jupiter. They are the first human beings to delve this deep into space and it has changed the crew. At last Sully feels at peace with the sacrifices she has made, a tiny and intrinsic piece of a universe beyond her comprehension. But suddenly, inexplicably, the Aether loses all contact with Mission Control. In a vacuum of information, the crew must determine the best course of action. Faced with the cold, barren sweep of the Arctic and the vast silence of space, what will they do next and how will they survive?
Ambitious ... Brooks-Dalton's prose lights up the page in great swathes, her dialogue sharp and insightful, and the high-concept plot drives a story of place, elusive love, and the inexorable yearning for human contact ... Memorable characters explore complex questions that resonate with the urgency of a glimpse into the void Publishers Weekly Beautiful descriptions create a sense of wonder and evoke feelings of desolation while Brooks-Dalton's heartfelt debut novel unfolds at a perfect pace as it asks readers what will be left when everything in the world is gone Booklist What does it mean to be isolated from the ordinariness of the everyday world, yet to find the extraordinariness of being close to another human being? ... Lily Brooks-Dalton takes us on an emotional journey in this beautiful debut -- Yiyun Li, author of THE VAGRANTS A truly original novel, otherworldly and profoundly human ... This beautiful story reminds us of our deep longing for connection-with those we love, with strangers, with ourselves -- Keith Scribner
Lily Brooks-Dalton was born and raised in southern Vermont. She moved to Ireland when she was seventeen then worked her way around the world for three and a half years. She is currently doing an MFA in Portland, Oregon, and has won numerous scholarships for her writing.