Orbital, Samantha Harvey ( hardback Nov 2023)


A team of astronauts in the International Space Station 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.

They begin to ask, what is life without earth? What is earth without humanity?'One of the most beautiful novels I have read in a very long time'MARK HADDON, author of The Porpoise A slim, profound study of intimate human fears set against epic vistas'GUARDIAN

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