Good Morning, Midnight – Lily Brooks-Dalton

So Good Morning, Midnight was published a while ago, in 2016, but it’s been getting more traction again recently because the Netflix film Midnight Sky based on the book has just been released. I hadn’t heard of this before, so I’m very grateful to Kate Moreton and Weidenfeld & Nicholson for sending me a review copy to check out!

STAR RATING: 3.5/5 ✶

RELEASE DATE: originally 09/08/16, this edition 12/09/17

SUMMARY: There is a particular beauty in silence, in being cut off from the world. Augustine, a brilliant, ageing scientist, is consumed by the stars. He has spent his entire life searching for the origins of time itself. He has now been left alone on a remote research base in the Arctic circle, all communication with the outside world broken down. But then he discovers a mysterious child, Iris, who must have hidden herself away when the last of his colleagues departed.

Sully is a divorced mother. She is also an astronaut, currently aboard The Aether on a return flight from Jupiter. This is the culmination of her career, the very reason for all the sacrifices she has made – the daughter she left behind, the marriage she couldn’t save. When all communication goes silent, she is left wondering what she will be returning to.

Marooned in the vast silence of space and the achingly beautiful sweep of the Arctic, both Augustine and Sully begin to understand their place in the world, and what gives their life meaning. For only in the silence can we find out who we truly are. (from W&N)

OPINIONS: I really enjoyed this book, although it won’t be one of my standout favourites. Augustine is a fantastic anti-hero, a grouchy old man left to his own devices. Sully and her team of astronauts struggling to figure out why they have lost contact with Earth while in deep space are great too. Lily Brooks-Dalton manages to craft a host of multi-dimensional, flawed characters that play off each other wonderfully. Good Morning, Midnight is really a character driven novel.

There isn’t a lot of plot other than to establish the setting. It is a slow book, focused on philosophical questions, which I enjoyed. The settings, both of which are based on isolation hit home these days where we are isolated in our homes. There are some coincidences in the book (especially one major one) that just seems incredibly convenient, which did frustrate me a bit. But I liked the relatively ambiguous ending a lot. You finish not knowing how the story will end, and I think it’s a great choice to end the book where it did.

If you like bleak and thoughtful approaches to isolation and philosophical considerations about life and the world, I recommend you check out Good Morning, Midnight. Find it on Goodreads here, and order a copy from Bookshop here (affiliate link).

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