The Stargazer's Embassy by Eleanor Lerman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Thanks to Netgalley for this Arc!
I honestly thought this was going to be a tongue-in-cheek novel based on the cover and even more so because the author is a poet and is pushing this title within literary SF.
What I read was nothing of the sort.
Instead, we get a very grounded and realistic rendition of the alien abduction world from a very strange member within it. She wants nothing to do with any of it. And, oddly enough, she was never abducted, just visited. A lot. There's a mystery here, of course, and Julia is utterly focused on living a perfectly normal life despite her upbringing, submerging herself in distractions and cleaning houses and businesses in the most mindless job she can and endlessly diving into all kinds of music to push the rest of the world away. No close friends or relatives, no desire for anything more... but of course everything changes.
I'm very impressed by this novel more because of its invested realism and honest reactions and the way its skeptical of sensationalism. Instead, we've got a novel that takes everything very seriously and backs it up with deep character development, wonderful details, and genuine outrage, antagonism, and fear.
In the respect that it writes clearly and fascinatingly about a sensational subject while always remaining firmly grounded and thoughtful, this is a literary novel. Only the subject itself is SF, but that's happening all the time, nowadays, as ideas become super-mainstream.
I totally recommend this for everyone in the mood for an extended and deeply explored X-File or that wonderful Spielberg adventure, Taken. This book is all about turning the alien legend on its head and giving the other side a chance to develop as much more than a conspiracy or a joke.
And even more importantly, it was a simple delight to read. :)
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