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Good Morning, Midnight: A Novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, August 9, 2016
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“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
“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
“Slim but ambitious . . . an astute exploration of the ways that human beings develop in isolation. In Good Morning, Midnight, Brooks–Dalton writes beautifully about ambition, loss, grief, and, most compellingly, what it means to love and be loved. The novel moves nimbly between genres, flawlessly combining mystery, science fiction and the classic adventure story to form a truly literary novel that takes places in a society not so different from our own. With intricate multifaceted characters and an emotionally harrowing plot, Brooks-Dalton delivers a profound meditation on human connection.”—Fredricksburg Free Lance-Star
“It takes a brave writer to leave the biggest questions unanswered, but Brooks-Dalton handles her unpulled threads masterfully. . . . We tend to think of the end of the world as a bombastic event, massive and rife with destruction. Good Morning, Midnight gives us a different look. . . . Technically, this could be considered a post-apocalyptic story, but the truth is that Brooks-Dalton has created something much more poignant. . . . Powerful and moving, Good Morning, Midnight is an exceptional example of the literary power of speculative fiction.”—The Maine Edge
“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. . . . Memorable characters explore complex questions that resonate with the urgency of a glimpse into the void.”—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
“What does it mean to be isolated from the ordinariness of the everyday world, yet to find the extraordinariness of being close to another human being? 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 . . . This beautiful story reminds us of our deep longing for connection—with those we love, with strangers, with ourselves. We come to understand that, across time and distance, in the face of isolation and emptiness, it is tenderness and communication that keep us tethered to each other. Good Morning, Midnight is a fascinating story, surprising and inspiring at every turn.”—Keith Scribner
About the Author
Lily Brooks-Dalton was born and raised in southern Vermont. She is also the author of the memoir Motorcycles I’ve Loved, which was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award.
Top customer reviews
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Some people might not like that only one thing seems to get resolved and that there are all sorts of possible ends after the last words. But this, I think, is the point.
I will say that this is not a plot-driven story. The undefined disaster on Earth is not obvious, and is never explained. It's the background, the setting for the character's stories. If you must have everything explained and a tidy ending, this is not the book for you.
Told in two different POVs. Augustine, an elderly astronomer who decides to stay in the North pole when the rest of team evacuates to go to their families. War is imminent. However, Augustine soon finds that he's not alone.
Then there's the spaceship Aether returning to Earth after a long journey back from Jupiter. Mission Specialist Sullivan and her crew discover they must come to terms with the loss of communication on Earth and what it means for how they move on with life.
I found the prose beautiful and heartbreakingly real. Some people might find the ending disturbing, but I thought it fit perfectly in the story.
This is a story where silence plays a main character... where the extreme isolation invites a soul-searching character study of Augustine (arctic guy) and Sully (outer space lady) who find themselves observing, examining, and facing their true selves here at the end of the world. Outside of the basic premise, this is not a plot-driven story full of external conflict. It's slow-moving literary introspection centered around internal conflict. Exposition covers maybe half the novel. The chapters alternate between Augie and Sully and we slowly get to know them and their pasts and what has brought them to this moment in time. Some conflict does kick in about halfway through, lifting up the story. But if you're not here to appreciate the lovely writing and character study, you might get pretty bored here.
It didn't hit the 5-star mark for me for a few other reasons as well. I can even understand 3-3.5 stars for the picky readers. There's excess exposition, as I said. I love a good character study but sometimes the slow-moving silence in the setting/plot disengaged me, making the book difficult to pick back up. This took me longer than usual to read because my mood and setting had to be just right to get into it.
Moreover, Augie's story fascinated me much more than Sully's... I wish more interesting things were going on there in outer space. There are two major twists and I guessed them both rather quick... I even felt like I heard elements of this story before. And the ending... I'm still pondering the end. I'm still not sure how I feel about it. Those who need clear answers about... well, everything lol... will not like the end and maybe not the book in general. This is a book about silence... but it's also about the unknown.
It's about broken people and how that broken stuff gets buried and passed down. It's about parents and siblings. About pain and failure so deep and wide there may not be any hope left. And it begs the question of what truly matters to the highly esteemed workaholics of the world when no one is left to give a care about their accomplishments and no job is left to give them identity and commitment. What then? What really matters in the end?
ps.... Loved this TONS more than Station Eleven!!! SE was lame, 150% boring and nowhere near as descriptive as this one is...
The near future. An international crew flies a scientific mission to Jupiter, especially to study its satellites. The whole expedition takes two years. On the flight back all the signal from Earth stop. Why?
Meanwhile in an arctic observatory everybody is evacuated: “rumors of war”. The hero, an aging scientist, refuses to go and stays alone. All radio or tele- transmissions stop suddenly. Why?
A year later when astronauts are near the Moon orbit they radio- connect with the Arctic loner. Is he the last man on Earth?
Besides beautiful writing, the author is excellent at physics and technical details. [But doe she really believe that South Africa will have its own space program? Maybe the old South Africa could but it is all gone.]
Most recent customer reviews
As others have mentioned, I wish the ending was more resolved but if it had been the last paragraph would not have been as impactful. Great read.