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The Comet Seekers: A Novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, October 11, 2016
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“A gorgeous novel that should resonate with fans of Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveller’s Wife…A breath-taking tale of love, loss and heartbreak. You’ll be utterly captivated from the first page.” (Elle (Book of the Month))
“An exquisitely layered, thrilling novel, which leaps across centuries and continents to delve into the role of destiny and the elusiveness of perception and memory.” (Carmela Ciuraru, New York Times)
“A haunting and wonderfully ethereal debut novel about first loves, inescapable loss, and the search for one’s place in a complicated world . . . Uniquely structured and stylistically fascinating, the multilayered story comes full circle in a denouement that is both heartbreaking and satisfying.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
“Haunting and beautiful, THE COMET SEEKERS follows a constellation of lives from modern Antarctica to medieval England, all of them connected by an extraordinary mystery hidden deep in the past. A captivating story, deftly told, about those who are driven to explore, and those who must stay behind.” (Helene Wecker, New York Times bestselling author of THE GOLEM AND THE JINNI)
“A fluid narrative voice, pointedly lyrical and without a trace of irony, gives equal weight to the perceptions of both ghosts and living characters. And, as in the work of contemporary fabulists like Kelly Link, Helen Oyeyemi and Audrey Niffenegger, the real intersects matter-of-factly with the supernatural…A different spin to the idea of a love that’s meant to be.” (Andrea Barrett, New York Times Book Review)
“A stellar love story that echoes down decades and centuries.” (Glamour)
“Readers will be enveloped in the magical world that Sedgwick creates and will grapple with the big issues she tackles-love, family, freedom, and loneliness. Those drawn to intimate stories of family drama are sure to respond to this beautiful, character-driven novel, which is reminiscent of the work of Amy Bloom and Elizabeth Strout.” (Booklist)
“Sedgwick weaves science and the imagination into a melancholy yet magical tale…Readers would do well to suspend disbelief and open their hearts to the romance, the lush prose, and the mystery of Sedgwick’s original and inventive debut.” (Library Journal)
“In her ambitious . . . debut novel, journalist, editor, and former research physicist Sedgwick leaps through time, from 1066 to the present, following the trajectories of her characters’ lives as various comets surge gloriously through the night skies.” (Kirkus)
“Helen Sedgwick has written a first novel of remarkable grace, beauty and insight, in which a careful love of language meets an immense storytelling talent. I was moved and inspired by this book.” (Joseph O'Connor, author of STAR OF THE SEA)
“THE COMET SEEKERS is a brave and tender debut from one of the brightest new stars of the literary world. It’s one of the most vivid, original and magical books I’ve read in years.” (Kirsty Logan, author of THE GRACEKEEPERS)
“Inspired by the mysteries of the Bayeux Tapestry, a work of art nearly a millennium old, THE COMET SEEKERS weaves an exquisite tale of love and fate, impermanence and infinity, the pull of the sky and the bonds of earth. Helen Sedgwick charts the paths of the cosmos and the human heart with unnerving intelligence and grace. This is a novel about the universe, yes, but also about spaces small and secret-the homes we make for ourselves: how we build them, why we leave, and what it means to stay. A luminous debut.” (Leslie Parry, author of CHURCH OF MARVELS)
From the Back Cover
A magical, intoxicating debut novel, both intimate and epic, that braids the past, present, and future of two lovers bound by the passing of great comets overhead and a coterie of remarkable ancestors.
When Róisín and François meet at a remote research base on the frozen ice sheets of Antarctica, they are immediately drawn to each other. At first glance, the pair could not be more different. Older by a few years, Róisín, a daughter of Ireland and a peripatetic astronomer, joins the science team to observe the fracturing of a comet overhead. François, the base’s chef, has just left his birthplace in Bayeux, France, for only the second time in his life. Yet the two are connected by devastating tragedy, the longing for a fresh start, and an indelible yet unknown bond that stretches back centuries.
Helen Sedgwick carefully unfolds their surprisingly intertwined paths, moving forward and back through time to reveal how these lovers’ destinies have long been united by the skies—the arrival of comets great and small. In telling Róisín and François’s story, Sedgwick illuminates the lives of their ancestors, showing how strangers can be connected and ghosts can be real, and how the way we choose to see the world can be as desolate or as beautiful as the comets themselves.
A mesmerizing, skillfully crafted, and emotionally perceptive novel that explores the choices we make, the connections we miss, and the ties that inextricably join our fates, The Comet Seekers reflects how the shifting cosmos unites us all through life, beyond death, and across the whole of time.
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Top customer reviews
When we meet Francois’ mother, Severine in 1976 she is 14 years old, living in Bayeaux, France and watching the Comet West. She spends a great deal of time with her grandmother, who talks to the ghosts of her ancestors. Of course everyone except Severine thinks she is crazy. We learn that the ghosts appear with the comets and only speak to family members who have lost someone and committed to staying put in Bayeaux. When Severine’s grandmother dies, Severine commits to the ghosts and the past rather than living a life in the present and looking to the future. Through the ghosts, Severine learns a great deal of her past and we see the lives of Severine’s ancestors and Roisin’s ancestors intersect. “So many ways to be saved against what might hurt you, but no way to be saved from what has already happened.”
We meet a young Roisin in 1976 when she is 9 years old and charting the path of the Comet West in her village in Ireland. She and her cousin Liam are lying on the cold ground mapping the stars. Roisin moves from studying comets to studying planets and galaxies and works in a variety of countries including France, Scotland and Canada. In 2007 she is accepted to work in a program at New York University, which was her ultimate goal.
When Roisin experiences a difficult loss, she gives up her life in New York and goes on the Antartica expedition. Contemplating her loss, she muses that “there is perhaps a part of her that knows we are too small to matter.”
The novel ends with ghosts intermingling with comets and with us questioning whether Severine was truly communicating with ghosts or whether something else was at play.
I liked the way the book started but about midway it fizzled. The story is dark and the angst of the main characters, their perspectives on life and obsessions with the past and regret is very hard to take. Although the novel is less than 300 pages, it is repetitive and too long and parts of the story are inconsistent and flawed. The idea of the novel, the intermingling of science and the supernatural, and the creativity with which it is executed are excellent and tell me that Ms. Sedwick’s second novel will be vastly better and that we should keep an eye out for her. If you like this post and would like to read more, visit FromBriefsToBooks.com.
Most recent customer reviews
Main feel: layered, nostalgic, deep and emotional.Read more