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Good Morning, Midnight    by Lily Brooks-Dalton order for
Good Morning, Midnight
by Lily Brooks-Dalton
Order:  USA  Can
Random House, 2016 (2016)
Hardcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Lily Brooks-Dalton's Good Morning, Midnight is a most unusual near future dystopian. It's lyrically written and develops slowly and steadily from two very different (and very far apart) points of view. The link between them only becomes clear towards the end of the novel. Essentially, some kind of global disaster has struck Earth, leaving two protagonists in remote areas unaware of exactly what happened - and none of us ever find out.

Augustine is an elderly astronomer, alone in a station on the Canadian Arctic archipelago. He refused to leave when the other scientists were evacuated by the military. Oddly enough, in the chaos of departure, a silent child, Iris, was left behind with him. Over time, this curmudgeon, previously obsessed only with his work, learns to care for her and worry over her fate. This prompts him to eventually risk his life to move them both to a better location. And, as this develops, we learn of his past and how he lost touch with the one woman he loved and the child he fathered with her.

Sully is a female astronaut aboard the Aether spacecraft (with a crew of six), heading home from Jupiter. She thinks often of her ex and the daughter Lucy whom she left behind. 'Mission Control had fallen silent just before the Jovian survey began.' It's been weeks and the crew are very stressed, reacting in different ways. They lose someone repairing their comm system and when they near Earth again, Sully makes contact with Augustine. But when the Aether reaches the International Space Station, they have a hard decision to make.

The ending is rather ambiguous but satisfying. I have to say that I enjoyed this novel mainly for its lyrical descriptions of both protagonists' surroundings, as in 'The dawn climbed like a wall of hungry fire' or a portrayal of Jupiter's satellite Io as 'a willful cannonball riddled with volcanoes and radiation.' It's well worth the read.

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