Pippa Goldschmidt -The Falling Sky
- Ruth Johnston
- 10 April 2013
Cosmology-themed first novel shows potential
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.