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Good Morning, Midnight (2016)

by Lily Brooks-Dalton

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5604033,665 (3.82)23
For readers of Station Eleven and The Snow Child, Lily Brooks-Dalton's haunting debut is the unforgettable story of two outsiders--a lonely scientist in the Arctic and an astronaut trying to return to Earth--as they grapple with love, regret, and survival in a world transformed. NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY SHELF AWARENESS AND THE CHICAGO REVIEW OF BOOKS * COLSON WHITEHEAD'S FAVORITE BOOK OF 2016 (Esquire) Augustine, a brilliant, aging astronomer, is consumed by the stars. For years he has lived in remote outposts, studying the sky for evidence of how the universe began. At his latest posting, in a research center in the Arctic, news of a catastrophic event arrives. The scientists are forced to evacuate, but Augustine stubbornly refuses to abandon his work. Shortly after the others have gone, Augustine discovers a mysterious child, Iris, and realizes that the airwaves have gone silent. They are alone. At the same time, Mission Specialist Sullivan is aboard the Aether on its return flight from Jupiter. The astronauts are the first human beings to delve this deep into space, and Sully has made peace with the sacrifices required of her: a daughter left behind, a marriage ended. So far the journey has been a success. But when Mission Control falls inexplicably silent, Sully and her crewmates are forced to wonder if they will ever get home. As Augustine and Sully each face an uncertain future against forbidding yet beautiful landscapes, their stories gradually intertwine in a profound and unexpected conclusion. In crystalline prose, Good Morning, Midnight poses the most important questions: What endures at the end of the world? How do we make sense of our lives? Lily Brooks-Dalton's captivating debut is a meditation on the power of love and the bravery of the human heart. Praise for Good Morning, Midnight "Stunningly gorgeous . . . The book contemplates the biggest questions--What is left at the end of the world? What is the impact of a life's work?"--Portland Mercury  "A beautifully written, sparse post-apocalyptic novel that explores memory, loss and identity . . . Fans of Emily St. John Mandel's Station Eleven and Kim Stanley Robinson's Aurora will appreciate the Brooks-Dalton's exquisite exploration of relationships in extreme environments."--The Washington Post   "Ambitious . . . Brooks-Dalton's prose lights up the page in great swathes, her dialogue sharp and insightful, and the high-concept plot drives a story of place, elusive love, and the inexorable yearning for human contact."--Publishers Weekly "Beautiful descriptions create a sense of wonder and evoke feelings of desolation. . . . Brooks-Dalton's heartfelt debut novel unfolds at a perfect pace as it asks readers what will be left when everything in the world is gone."--Booklist "Good Morning, Midnight is a remarkable and gifted debut novel. Lily Brooks-Dalton is an uncanny chronicler of desolate spaces, whether it's the cold expanse of the universe or the deepest recesses of the human heart."--Colson Whitehead "With imagination, empathy, and insight into unchanged and unchangeable human nature, Lily Brooks-Dalton takes us on an emotional journey in this beautiful debut."--Yiyun Li "A truly original novel, otherworldly and profoundly human . . . Good Morning, Midnight is a fascinating story, surprising and inspiring at every turn."--Keith Scribner… (more)
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» See also 23 mentions

English (39)  Italian (1)  All languages (40)
Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
Interesting take on a post-apocalyptic story. I'm still undecided about the twist. Well, really there were two twists:
1) that Augie was hallucinating Iris. That one I pretty much assumed as soon as she showed up in the book. Strangely, though - it took me nearly until the end before I realized that he was hallucinating his daughter.
2) that his real-life daughter was the astronaut. This is the one that I found far more unbelievable, although I was relieved to learn that neither realized who the other one was.
( )
  KrakenTamer | Oct 23, 2021 |
I started watching the MAJOR NETFLIX FILM at Christmas last year and then got bored and added the novel to my wishlist instead, being an eternal believer in the book being better than the film. Sadly, I lost interest in the written version fairly early too.

The plot is basically a 'twist in the tale' short story spun out with a lot of introspection from two 'damaged' characters, contemplating the past and the future after an unknown event kills off everyone else on the planet. Augie is an old man living on a remote Arctic outpost, vaguely regretting that he spent his life hiding behind his career and running away from relationships instead of being a father to his little girl. Sully, a young woman onboard a research vessel orbiting Jupiter, is haunted by the same guilt after choosing her career over her five year old daughter. She is a communications specialist and he is a ham radio operator who knows how to use the abandoned equipment on the base, so obviously they are going to find each other. But the wait for the the big revelation is slow going, while the characters are formed mostly of tropes and cod psychology (apparently everyone is inherently maternal/paternal and if you don't want children then isolation and Catholic levels of guilt will be your doom). And I also hated that crazy Augie shot that poor Arctic wolf. Not for me, thanks.

I might just be going through a reading slump, but I'm now tempted to see if the film is actually better than the book! ( )
  AdonisGuilfoyle | Sep 24, 2021 |
If a book has had a movie made from it, I try to watch the movie first, since usually the book is better than the movie and I get to be pleased twice, instead of disappointed by the movie after having read the book. In this case, I was disappointed twice. The movie was terrible, bleak, slow paced, sometimes incomprehensible, raised questions it wasn't interested in answering, the 'twist' was guessed near the beginning, and the ending was a steaming pile of crap. I was looking forward to the book to answer some of the questions I had, but it was even less interested in explaining anything than the film was. The "twist" was even more obvious in the book, almost given away in the prologue: at least in the movie you didn't know the astronaut lady's first name until the end .
I had to read this for my book club and I'm sorry to say that I hurt the feelings of the woman who picked it for us by giving it one star and stating how much I hated it. However, I am used to reading science fiction and most of those ladies are not. A lot of the women in my book club actually liked the book, which made me start to reconsider a little bit. If you look at it as a story about a man facing the end of his life and going back over it, wishing he could have had a better relationship with his daughter and imagining that he gets to make up for being such an a-hole then I guess it's a little better than one star. However, even if you ignore the unexplained events of the setting that relationship is still pretty one-note and the protagonist is still an a-hole. Whether he looks like George Clooney or not, whether his single-minded career focus made the world better (or not) he's still a dick. So, yeah. I really didn't like this book and I'm kind of mad I wasted my time a) reading it, b) watching the movie, c) discussing it for 3 hours with some awesome ladies and d) writing this review. Please let me believe my time has not been completely wasted by heeding my words and choosing to save your time by not doing any of the above things. ( )
1 vote EmScape | Aug 25, 2021 |
Why this book? - People can't seem to agree on whether the George Clooney movie is good or if it sucks but I see lots of rave reviews about the book so I want to read it
  Jinjer | Jul 19, 2021 |
I read this over 18 months ago and still think about. Haunting and sad, yet not completely without hope. ( )
  KarenBayly | Apr 10, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
Good Morning, Midnight (Random House) by Lily Brooks-Dalton is a beautifully written, sparse post-apocalyptic novel that explores memory, loss and identity.... Fans of Emily St. John Mandel’s “Station Eleven ” and Kim Stanley Robinson’s “Aurora” will appreciate the Brooks-Dalton’s exquisite exploration of relationships in extreme environments.
added by Lemeritus | editWashington Post, Nancy Hightower (pay site) (Aug 16, 2016)
 
A debut novel with an intriguing premise. . . . What is left when everything is gone? What does it mean to be alive in the universe and the grandeur of vast emptiness? ... What particularly undermines the high-concept story is writing that calls attention to itself. It pulls the reader out of what novelist John Gardner called the dream. As with real dreams, it is hard for a once–awakened sleeper to get back into it.
 
Brooks-Dalton’s prose lights up the page in great swathes, her dialogue sharp and insightful, and the high-concept plot drives a story of place, elusive love, and the inexorable yearning for human contact. Although the book’s two parallel threads often read less like a novel than a pair of expertly crafted—if only tangentially related—novellas, the memorable characters explore complex questions that resonate with the urgency of a glimpse into the void.
added by Lemeritus | editPublishers Weekly (Jun 27, 2016)
 
Two scientists in remote locations must navigate the sudden loss of human life on Earth.... Brooks-Dalton (Motorcycles I’ve Loved, 2015) is a writer who loves grand gestures, and she’s at her best when writing about the epic settings that anchor the book, as the arctic and deep space give Brooks-Dalton outlets that match her scope. However, both the plot and the writing itself frequently fall into this same grandiosity: when an apocalypse is the least dramatic part of a novel, one wonders if Brooks-Dalton might have gotten the same amount of punch with less extravagance. An apocalyptic soap opera set in vividly imagined environments.
 
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Epigraph
I heave myself out of the darkness slowly, painfully. And there I am, and there he is . . . -- Jean Rhys
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For Gordon Brooks
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When the sun finally returned to the Arctic Circle and stained the gray sky with blazing streaks of pink, Augustine was outside, waiting.
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His hair and beard had turned white thirty years ago, but a sprinkling of black hairs across his chin and neck persisted, as if he’d left the job of aging half-finished and moved on to another project.
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For readers of Station Eleven and The Snow Child, Lily Brooks-Dalton's haunting debut is the unforgettable story of two outsiders--a lonely scientist in the Arctic and an astronaut trying to return to Earth--as they grapple with love, regret, and survival in a world transformed. NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY SHELF AWARENESS AND THE CHICAGO REVIEW OF BOOKS * COLSON WHITEHEAD'S FAVORITE BOOK OF 2016 (Esquire) Augustine, a brilliant, aging astronomer, is consumed by the stars. For years he has lived in remote outposts, studying the sky for evidence of how the universe began. At his latest posting, in a research center in the Arctic, news of a catastrophic event arrives. The scientists are forced to evacuate, but Augustine stubbornly refuses to abandon his work. Shortly after the others have gone, Augustine discovers a mysterious child, Iris, and realizes that the airwaves have gone silent. They are alone. At the same time, Mission Specialist Sullivan is aboard the Aether on its return flight from Jupiter. The astronauts are the first human beings to delve this deep into space, and Sully has made peace with the sacrifices required of her: a daughter left behind, a marriage ended. So far the journey has been a success. But when Mission Control falls inexplicably silent, Sully and her crewmates are forced to wonder if they will ever get home. As Augustine and Sully each face an uncertain future against forbidding yet beautiful landscapes, their stories gradually intertwine in a profound and unexpected conclusion. In crystalline prose, Good Morning, Midnight poses the most important questions: What endures at the end of the world? How do we make sense of our lives? Lily Brooks-Dalton's captivating debut is a meditation on the power of love and the bravery of the human heart. Praise for Good Morning, Midnight "Stunningly gorgeous . . . The book contemplates the biggest questions--What is left at the end of the world? What is the impact of a life's work?"--Portland Mercury  "A beautifully written, sparse post-apocalyptic novel that explores memory, loss and identity . . . Fans of Emily St. John Mandel's Station Eleven and Kim Stanley Robinson's Aurora will appreciate the Brooks-Dalton's exquisite exploration of relationships in extreme environments."--The Washington Post   "Ambitious . . . Brooks-Dalton's prose lights up the page in great swathes, her dialogue sharp and insightful, and the high-concept plot drives a story of place, elusive love, and the inexorable yearning for human contact."--Publishers Weekly "Beautiful descriptions create a sense of wonder and evoke feelings of desolation. . . . Brooks-Dalton's heartfelt debut novel unfolds at a perfect pace as it asks readers what will be left when everything in the world is gone."--Booklist "Good Morning, Midnight is a remarkable and gifted debut novel. Lily Brooks-Dalton is an uncanny chronicler of desolate spaces, whether it's the cold expanse of the universe or the deepest recesses of the human heart."--Colson Whitehead "With imagination, empathy, and insight into unchanged and unchangeable human nature, Lily Brooks-Dalton takes us on an emotional journey in this beautiful debut."--Yiyun Li "A truly original novel, otherworldly and profoundly human . . . Good Morning, Midnight is a fascinating story, surprising and inspiring at every turn."--Keith Scribner

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