Orbital (Hardcover)

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Orbital By Samantha Harvey Cover Image
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Staff Reviews

Following 24 hours in the lives of six astronauts and cosmonauts in their orbit around Earth (consisting of sixteen sunrises and sixteen sunsets, with the chapters divided as such), Orbital depicts their innermost thoughts as well as the thoughts of the people they've left behind. This novel is a postmodernist yet humble love letter to humanity, Earth, nature, and the universe beyond, and, while short, it is no less brilliant. Harvey's poetic prose is filled with wonder, beauty, and love, and the end result is a novel that is absolutely breathtaking. I will cherish this forever.

Bethany Marsfelder


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.

About the Author

Samantha Harvey is the author of five novels, Orbital, The Western Wind, Dear Thief, All Is Song, and The Wilderness, which won the Betty Trask Prize, and one work of nonfiction, The Shapeless Unease. Her books have been shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction, the Guardian First Book Award, and the James Tait Black Prize, as well as longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Baileys Women's Prize. She lives in Bath, UK, and teaches creative writing at Bath Spa University.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780802161543
ISBN-10: 0802161545
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press
Publication Date: December 5th, 2023
Pages: 193
Language: English