NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY SHELF AWARENESS AND THE CHICAGO REVIEW OF BOOKS - COLSON WHITEHEAD'S FAVORITE BOOK OF 2016 (Esquire)
Augustine, a brilliant, aging astronomer, is consumed by the stars. For years he has lived in remote outposts, studying the sky for evidence of how the universe began. At his latest posting, in a research center in the Arctic, news of a catastrophic event arrives. The scientists are forced to evacuate, but Augustine stubbornly refuses to abandon his work. Shortly after the others have gone, Augustine discovers a mysterious child, Iris, and realizes that the airwaves have gone silent. They are alone.
At the same time, Mission Specialist Sullivan is aboard the Aether on its return flight from Jupiter. The astronauts are the first human beings to delve this deep into space, and Sully has made peace with the sacrifices required of her: a daughter left behind, a marriage ended. So far the journey has been a success. But when Mission Control falls inexplicably silent, Sully and her crewmates are forced to wonder if they will ever get home.
As Augustine and Sully each face an uncertain future against forbidding yet beautiful landscapes, their stories gradually intertwine in a profound and unexpected conclusion. In crystalline prose, Good Morning, Midnight poses the most important questions: What endures at the end of the world? How do we make sense of our lives? Lily Brooks-Dalton's captivating debut is a meditation on the power of love and the bravery of the human heart.
Praise for Good Morning, Midnight
"Stunningly gorgeous . . . The book contemplates the biggest questions--What is left at the end of the world? What is the impact of a life's work?"--Portland Mercury
"A beautifully written, sparse post-apocalyptic novel that explores memory, loss and identity . . . Fans of Emily St. John Mandel's Station Eleven and Kim Stanley Robinson's Aurora will appreciate the Brooks-Dalton's exquisite exploration of relationships in extreme environments."--The Washington Post
"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."--Publishers Weekly
"Beautiful descriptions create a sense of wonder and evoke feelings of desolation. . . . 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
"Good Morning, Midnight is a remarkable and gifted debut novel. Lily Brooks-Dalton is an uncanny chronicler of desolate spaces, whether it's the cold expanse of the universe or the deepest recesses of the human heart."--Colson Whitehead
"With imagination, empathy, and insight into unchanged and unchangeable human nature, Lily Brooks-Dalton takes us on an emotional journey in this beautiful debut."--Yiyun Li
"A truly original novel, otherworldly and profoundly human . . . Good Morning, Midnight is a fascinating story, surprising and inspiring at every turn."--Keith Scribner
- ISBN-13: 9780812998894
- ISBN-10: 0812998898
- Publisher: Random House
- Publish Date: August 2016
- Page Count: 272
- Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.6 x 1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 0.9 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-06-27
- Reviewer: Staff
In Brooks-Dalton’s (Motorcycles I’ve Loved) ambitious debut novel, the human population of Earth has gone silent, “as if there were no radio transmitters left in the world, or perhaps no souls to use them.” At the Arctic’s Barbeau Obervatory, renowned curmudgeon and astronomer Augustine, nearing 80, chooses to stay behind as his colleagues depart from the research station (in response to the unspecified crisis) so he can live out his life untethered from society. When he discovers Iris, a young girl “left behind like a forgotten piece of luggage,” Augustine’s life—and his uninterrupted opportunity to “quantify the guts of infinity, to look back into the dawn of time and glimpse the very beginning”—gets complicated. At the same time, the six-person crew of the Aether, the first manned flight to explore Jupiter and its moons, turns back toward Earth. Neither Augustine nor the crew of the Aether know what fate has befallen humanity, only that their entreaties remain unanswered, as if sentient life had never existed. When Augustine, a ham-radio enthusiast, catches the attention of Sully, the Aether’s communications specialist, the two converse briefly. But time and space conspire to separate the planet’s last remaining inhabitants. 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. Although the book’s two parallel threads often read less like a novel than a pair of expertly crafted—if only tangentially related—novellas, the memorable characters explore complex questions that resonate with the urgency of a glimpse into the void. (Aug.)