Pippa Goldschmidt -The Falling Sky (3 stars)

Cosmology-themed first novel shows potential

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Pippa Goldschmidt -The Falling Sky

(Freight Books)

Pippa Goldschmidt’s readable first novel is a character study of astronomer Jeanette who makes a discovery about the universe which could challenge the Big Bang theory. The discovery threatens to disrupt Jeanette’s life when bereavement resurfaces, forcing her to confront fragmented relationships. It seems Jeanette uses cosmology the way her lovers use sex, to fill emotional needs. Falling in love cleverly becomes a parallel to the idea of ‘the falling sky.’ There is an eloquent moment when Jeanette observes the glamour of a comet disturbing the sky before it disappears behind the Edinburgh rooftops. Incompleteness and the inexplicable nature of beauty, love, and loss are at the heart of this story. Goldschmidt is particularly successful at depicting the casualness with which lovers hurt each other. At one point Jeanette says to her capricious girlfriend, "death is outside everything. It can’t be explained by anything."

Fragmentation occasionally seeps into Goldschmidt’s narrative. There is a sense of fragility to the story which though effective thematically, can make the reading experience feel undernourished rather than existential. Though this novel is flawed, Goldschmidt has potential.

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1. Fran1212 Apr 2013, 5:24pm Report

Good honest review of a debut novel! All too often you get reviews of debut novels that blow them out of proportion (like the review of this book in the Daily Mail...), so it's refreshing to read something that recognises potential yet doesn't sensationalise.

2. Shoshanna8 Sep 2013, 11:19pm Report

I don't think that being critical always means being accurate. 'Fragmentation seeps in'. Can make the reading experience seem undernourished rather than existential. Really? Does the writer know what existential means or is she too concerned about seeping fragmentation? It's good to criticise but what criticsm should so is to help the writer to improve rather than make vague, unsubstantiated judgments. I'm really disappointed that the List would let such a vague and badly written review in

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