The Comet Seekers

Helen Sedgwick. Harper, $25.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-06-244876-7
Former research physicist Sedgwick mines the mysteries of the solar system and human desire to craft a haunting and wonderfully ethereal debut novel about first loves, inescapable loss, and the search for one’s place in a complicated world. When Róisín, an Irish scientist studying comets, and François, a French chef, reunite at a research base in the frigid wilds of Antarctica in 2017, the two seem virtually broken because of their respective pasts. Róisín, who followed her intergalactic studies from Ireland and France to Hawaii and New York over the course of decades, spent just as many years trying to make sense of and move beyond an illicit relationship with her cousin Liam. François arrived at the base with his own baggage: Severine, his dying mother, had insisted throughout her life that the ghosts of her ancestors are real. Sedgwick tackles a centuries-spanning interconnected narrative by placing each chapter within the context of a comet’s appearance in the sky. The sections that chronicle Severine’s conversations with her dearly departed are marked by their magical realism, but those that explore Róisín and Liam’s star-crossed romance are the standouts, both quietly moving and delicately portrayed. Uniquely structured and stylistically fascinating, the multilayered story comes full circle in a denouement that is both heartbreaking and satisfying. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/29/2016
Release date: 10/11/2016
Genre: Fiction
Ebook - 304 pages - 978-1-4434-4957-1
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-1-4434-4955-7
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4434-5325-7
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-257154-0
Ebook - 304 pages - 978-0-06-244878-1
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Audio book sample courtesy of HarperAudio
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