“The Morning Star”

Something out of control and unpredictable is going on.

“The Morning Star” is about people who are alike and yet are very different at the same time. The book is well organized and takes place over two days, each section labeled. Within each day, detailed accounts revolve around the activities of specific well-defined, diverse, and complex characters.  They share thoughts, fears, and opinions; readers get to know them well. Everyday activities and encounters with family and friends seem to be friendly, but they have an undercurrent of trouble, sometimes unstated, but at other times overt and open. Gossip, suspicion, and insinuations abound.

The narrative paints pictures with words. “The only light left in the landscape came from the shining moon, spectral in its reflection on the surface of the bay.” However, into this idyllic setting, a “celestial phenomenon” arrives.  An expert from the university says it is most likely a supernova. But no matter the label, it is something out of control, something volatile, and something dreadful.  Birds start singing strangely, and other animals become unpredictable. Death is all around.

“The Morning Star” is a modern gothic tale. It is the story of ordinary families and friends, going about their daily activities. However, something else very different, very strange is going on as well.   The story is filled with people whose very beliefs are challenged. The book is long; the plot moves slowly but with purpose, and I anxiously turned every page, wondering what would be next. I received a review copy of “The Morning Star” from Forlaget Oktober, Martin Aitken who translated it from Norwegian, Penguin Press, and Random House LLC. It is compelling and haunting.