A unspecified world catastrophe forces the evacuation of a northern Canadian astronomical research station but disaffected scientist and perennial loner Augustine decides to stick around to finish his work. He doesn’t care what happened nor is he particularly bothered by the seriousness of the event – he just wants to be left alone to dither about and end his days comfortable and surrounded by familiarity. Not long after his colleagues hit the bricks, he discovers Iris, a lone child, left behind.
Sully is part of a team of astronauts on their voyage home following a successful research mission deep into space. Somewhere along the way, they lost all communication from Earth. Diagnostics indicate that their equipment is functioning as it should but the mysterious silence leaves them shaken. As they move closer to their destination, they begin to wonder what awaits them upon their arrival.
Good Morning, Midnight was an interesting take on a post-apocalyptic novel where instead of explosions and panic, we’re left with an unexplained deafening silence. Coming in at a little over 200 pages, this was a pretty quick read, although I felt it seemed to drag at points. It could be because I’ve been reading a lot of page-turning plot-driven stuff lately.( That’s kind of a burn to this book, was that intentional? – yup) Lily Brooks-Dalton is content to meander about, digging into both Sully and Augustine’s past, which while that isn’t necessarily a bad thing – the writing is very strong – my mind would often wander and I’d lose my place.
In the face of so many end-of-days stories where “the event” is the central plot point, I liked the author’s idea to keep whatever happened largely unknown. In this way she was able to focus more on what drives both Sully and Augustine when faced with the unknown. I found this helped to put me into the shoes of the characters and feel their fear and concern along with them. That being said, I felt a lot of the backstory and info-dumping surrounding Augustine’s sexual history and alleged sociopathic behavior sort of irrelevant when the author returned to it near the final act of the story. I can see what she was doing in trying to explain his unexpected attachment to Iris, but I found my eyes glazing over large chunks of text due to it feeling more like a retread than breaking new ground on the character. It seemed like the author really couldn’t decide how to present him. It left the scenes where I was meant to view him as a sympathetic character fall flat. Did we really need more reasons to think this guy was an asshole?
I liked Sully a bit more than Augustine, but I guess that was the point. They both have similar reasons for pursuing their scientific endeavors, but I felt she came across a little stronger and a little more rational than Augustine. I will say that I didn’t really care all that much for the shoe-horned love story, but I suppose that added a bit of weight to the interactions aboard the space shuttle. I would have been more than happy to read a novel about her alone, which is odd because it was hearing about Augustine’s story that drove me to the book initially.