This is Erika Swyler’s second novel, her first being The Book of Speculation which I absolutely loved reading a few years ago. I was so excited to see that she had a new book coming out with such a beautiful cover. (I still cannot get over that cover, y’all!) I put this on my Ravenclaw book recommendations list and for good reason, Light From Other Stars is moving, expansive, and utterly brilliant. It’s one of those books that you can’t easily shake even once you’re finished.
Nedda Papas is our main character, she jumps between being an eleven year old dreamer and an adult aged achiever. Nedda and her parents are incredibly science minded. I myself am not science minded, and for that reason it was difficult for me to relate to the characters. With that being said, Swyler does an expert job at marrying the sciences and the humanities. Beyond that, the relationships between the characters are what really stood out for me. Relationship between mother and daughter, friends, colleagues, and father and daughter. The relationships between them reminded me what it means to be human, what separates us from machine. A story ultimately about love and loss, regret and hope and all of the other emotions that make us human.
I was actually surprised when the book took sharp turn towards science-fiction. The entire book is very smart and pushed my understandings of what is and is not possible within the realm of science. There were so many brilliant one liners peppered throughout this book, I have annotation tabs every few pages. Set in our world, and yet not, this one is for all of my sci-fi, space, NASA, science-loving readers out there. You are in for a treat. And for those readers that aren’t particularly into those things, this might not be your favorite book, but you will love it, and perhaps more importantly, learn from it.
Light From Other Stars is one of those books that makes you really pause to ponder, question, and think more deeply not only about the story unfolding before you, but also your own life and understandings. The pacing is perfect throughout. The writing is wonderful, poetic even; the kind of writing that reminds me why I love to read. Trust that Swyler will eventually answer all of your questions, and enjoy the ride. You can expect this book from Bloomsbury in May! You can pre-order your copy here.