Light from Other Stars
by Erika Swyler
Hardcover, 320 pages
Expected publication: May 7th 2019 by Bloomsbury Publishing
From the author of national bestseller The Book of Speculation, a poignant, fantastical novel about the electric combination of ambition & wonder that keeps us reaching toward the heavens.
Eleven-year-old Nedda Papas is obsessed with becoming an astronaut. In 1986 in Easter, a small Florida Space Coast town, her dreams seem almost within reach—if she can just grow up fast enough. Theo, the scientist father she idolizes, is consumed by his own obsessions. Laid off from his job at NASA and still reeling from the loss of Nedda’s newborn brother several years before, Theo turns to the dangerous dream of extending his living daughter's childhood just a little longer. The result is an invention that alters the fabric of time.
Amidst the chaos that erupts, Nedda must confront her father and his secrets, the ramifications of which will irrevocably change her life, her community, and the entire world. But she finds an unexpected ally in Betheen, the mother she’s never quite understood, who surprises Nedda by seeing her more clearly than anyone else.
Decades later, Nedda has achieved her long-held dream, and as she floats in antigravity, far from earth, she and her crewmates face a serious crisis. Nedda may hold the key to the solution, if she can come to terms with her past and the future that awaits her.
Light from Other Stars is about fathers and daughters, women and the forces that hold them back, and the cost of meaningful work. It questions how our lives have changed, what progress looks like, and what it really means to sacrifice for the greater good.
Before you start reading this book I want to warn you. This book is filled with a lot of jargon about NASA and astronauts and time anomalies.
This book is really interesting but I think it will be hard for regular fiction readers to embrace. I think if the author had tamped down on all the technical stuff and focused more on the storylines of the characters I would have been able to engage more with what was going on. It was like wading through a curtain of technicality trying to find the gem of the story.
Then if then if the jargon didn’t turn you off, the switching backward and forward in time might have pushed you over the edge enough to DNF this book. Don’t do that. Wait it out. I had been listening on audio but with all the back and forth in time, I had to just read it and watch for the headers of each section when the time changed.
Some of the stuff in here is a little gruesome. The people experiencing the time loops felt like the individuals were really suffering in their little time bubble. That might be disturbing for some.
I felt like this was a somewhat retelling of the play Brigadoon, just the in and out of time part, not basic details.
Interesting and profound but hard to wade though. I felt like I wasn’t smart enough to read this books. Brainiacs will get a kick out of this, I think.
I received this as an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) in return for an honest review. I thank NetGalley, the publisher and the author for allowing me to read this title.