by Samantha Harvey
Narrated by Sarah Naudi
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Pub Date 05 Dec 2023 | Archive Date 15 Dec 2023
RB Media, Recorded Books
A slender novel of epic power, Orbital deftly snapshots one day in the lives of six women and men hurtling through space—not towards the moon or the vast unknown, but around our planet. Selected for one of the last space station missions of its kind before the program is dismantled, these astronauts and cosmonauts—from America, Russia, Italy, Britain, and Japan—have left their lives behind to travel at a speed of over seventeen thousand miles an hour as the earth reels below. We glimpse moments of their earthly lives through brief communications with family, their photos and talismans; we watch them whip up dehydrated meals, float in gravity-free sleep, and exercise in regimented routines to prevent atrophying muscles; we witness them form bonds that will stand between them and utter solitude. Most of all, we are with them as they behold and record their silent blue planet. Their experiences of sixteen sunrises and sunsets and the bright, blinking constellations of the galaxy are at once breathtakingly awesome and surprisingly intimate. So are the marks of civilization far below, encrusted on the planet on which we live.
Profound, contemplative and gorgeous, Orbital is an eloquent meditation on space and a moving elegy to our humanity, environment, and planet.
- An Oprah Daily Best Book of 2023
- A Most Anticipated Book of 2023 from Literary Hub
- A Most Anticipated Book of Fall from the Guardian and Los Angeles Times
“Harvey makes an ecstatic voyage with an imagined crew on the International Space Station, and looks back to Earth with a lover’s eye . . . An Anthropocene book resistant to doom.” —Guardian
“Beautiful . . . [A] gorgeous meditation.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Coming from five different countries, the space travelers represent a microcosm of humanity. This is a beautifully written, deeply thoughtful meditation on planet Earth and our place in it.” —Library Journal, starred review
“Luminous and profound, Orbital is hard to put down and even harder to forget.” —Booklist, starred review
“Harvey takes readers on board a cramped space station with six members of an international mission as they rotate the earth 16 times in 24 hours. Through their eyes, we watch typhoons grow in the Pacific, packs of noodles float in zero gravity, and continents whir by. A meditative novel that reveals our changing planet with a new urgency, and its inhabitants with a new and profound love.” —Oprah Daily, Best Book of 2023
“Samantha Harvey is a beautiful stylist; in Orbital a group of astronauts look down on our fragile Earth. It’s a slim, profound study of intimate human fears set against epic vistas of swirling weather patterns and rolling continents.” —Guardian (UK)
“A meditation, zealously lyrical, about the profundity and precarity of our imperiled planet. Elegiac and elliptical, this slim novel is a sobering read.” —Kirkus Reviews
|5 Hours, 7 Minutes