cover image The Stargazer’s Embassy

The Stargazer’s Embassy

Eleanor Lerman. Mayapple, , $18.95 ISBN 978-1-936-41973-9

In poet and author Lerman’s skillful and satisfying novel of a very personal alien invasion, shadows may hide enemies or friends, and the greatest dangers come from within oneself. Julia Glazer is content to be a janitor in 1990 New York City; listening to music while she’s working drowns out her constant fears of the alien “things” that often approach her when she’s alone, and puts some distance between her and the memory of her dead UFO-obsessed mother, Laura, who forced Julia into an alien encounter when she was a little girl. When Julia falls for a professor, the subsequent changes in her life bring her face-to-face with how entangled she really is with her fears, her past, the aliens themselves, and the human urge to search for one’s place in the universe. Lerman (Radiomen) uses expansive prose and Julia’s potentially unreliable narration to keep the balance shifting between hope and menace. There are no spaceships or laser blasts; Lerman’s tense but thoughtful novel explores the mysteries of the psyche as much as those of outer space, and is fitting for any reader who enjoys deep and subtle stories. Agent: Sam Stoloff, Frances Goldin Literary. (July)