Life Among the Terranauts, by CAitlin Horrocks

Staff Pick

Horrocks bookends her masterful second collection of stories with contrasting visions of what a new kind of life on earth could be. In the first, “The Sleep,” a few families start hibernating to get through the difficult winters, entrusting their property and well-being to their waking neighbors. Rather than divide the community, the plan, built on mutual respect, builds unity. In the title story, however, the six pioneers of NovaTerra—an experimental project reminiscent of Biosphere 2—struggle to stay alive as crops fail and animals die; eventually, they turn on each other. Between these two poles, Horrocks vividly evokes ordinary life in places ranging from the Midwest to Prague to a Cuzco tourist resort. Writing with empathy and prose studded with striking, dynamic images (behind a ramshackle farmhouse “old acreage spread out…like a taunt”), she takes us inside the mind of an elderly widow falling into dementia, follows a young gay woman hoping to find a model for her own life in her grandmother’s, and charts a middle-aged man’s flailing efforts to build a new life in a foreign city. Throughout, Horrocks excels in rich portraits of both individuals and the larger communities they’re part of—however unsure these characters may be of their roles.

Life Among the Terranauts Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780316316972
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Little, Brown and Company - January 12th, 2021

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