Orbital: ‘Awe-inspiring’ Max Porter by Samantha Harvey


Bookseller Review by Elle:

A slice of life glimpse into the world of a group of astronauts as they orbit the earth together. Although this is a story set in and dealing with something as large, looming and spectacular as space, there is a great deal of humanity in this novel. Samantha Harvey’s characters are thoughtfully drawn out and her writing is incredibly observant, dealing with all sorts of questions about life, life on earth and being human – flitting between the extraordinary and the mundane. 

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Six astronauts rotate in their spacecraft above the Earth. They are there to collect meteorological data, conduct scientific experiments and test the limits of the human body. But mostly they observe. Together they watch their silent blue planet, circling it sixteen times, spinning past continents and cycling through seasons, taking in glaciers and deserts, the peaks of mountains and the swells of oceans. Endless shows of spectacular beauty witnessed in a single day. Yet although separated from the world they cannot escape its constant pull. News reaches them of the death of a mother, and with it comes thoughts of returning home. They look on as a typhoon gathers over an island and people they love, in awe of its magnificence and fearful of its destruction. The fragility of human life fills their conversations, their fears, their dreams. So far from Earth, they have never felt more part – or protective – of it.

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