THE FALLING SKY BY PIPPA GOLDSCHMIDT
FREIGHT BOOKS (EBOOK), 2013
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
A blackly comic campus satire combined with a heart-breaking family mystery, The Falling Sky brilliantly mixes fiction and astronomy into a fascinating, compelling, and moving narrative.
Jeanette is a young, solitary post-doctoral researcher who has dedicated her life to studying astronomy. Struggling to compete in a prestigious university department dominated by egos and incompetents, and caught in a cycle of brief and unsatisfying affairs, she travels to a mountaintop observatory in Chile to focus on her research. There Jeanette stumbles upon evidence that will challenge the fundamentals of the universe, drawing her into conflict with her colleagues and the scientific establishment, but also casting her back to the tragic loss that defined her childhood.
As the implications of her discovery gather momentum, and her relationships spiral out of control, Jeanette’s own grip on reality is threatened, finally forcing her to confront the hidden past. This bittersweet debut novel blends black comedy, heartbreaking tragedy, and fascinatingly accessible science, in an intricate and beautiful examination of one woman’s disintegration and journey to redemption.
Jeanette may as well be invisible. She’s standing on the stage in the auditorium in front of about two hundred other astronomers, presenting the results of her PHD work at the annual British conference. But she can tell no one’s listening.
WHAT I THOUGHT
The Falling Sky is the kind of novel where nothing much happens but what does happen sort of blows your mind. I found myself sucked into this novel every time I sat down to read. I’d pick it up planning to read a few chapters and before I realised what was happening three or four hours had passed. The book haunted me and invaded my thoughts almost constantly. I thought it was brilliant, just brilliant. I found Jeanette a very sympathetic character. I could relate to her which made me enjoy the book even more. I liked the way the world of academia is portrayed in the novel, Jeanette’s struggle after her paper about the planets that seem to be physically joined despite being nowhere near each other in the galaxy is published and the fact her supervisor is nicknamed Death Star. I thought it was incredibly sad when Jeanette and her parents finally talk about her sister’s death twenty years before. I found the astronomy stuff very interesting as well. Overall, I thought The Falling Sky was great.