The Stars Seem So Far Away by Margrét Helgadóttir.
The last shuttles to the space colonies are long gone. Wars, famine and plagues rage across the dying Earth. Fleeing the deadly sun, humans migrate farther and farther north. Follow the stories of five very different survivors as they cling to what is left of life in a future North.
This collection is made up of independent stories, scattered in time, which slowly become linked. The characters are all introduced in the middle of their own stories, their own settings, and continue to be independent even as they meet the others and slowly come together.
There are people who only exist in the memories of the characters, but seem as real as the characters themselves. There are hints of other stories, places, moments; things that we’re not certain about and things we’d like to see more of. Is it the same boat? Is the church a prophecy? What’s the difference between a fox and a child? Where’s the island with the lighthouse? What did happen to the plane? What happens after the stories are finished?
The place and climate is as much a character as the people within it. There’s a frozen world, cracked and shattered, made up of howling winds and bitter cold, frozen wastelands and trackless deserts, fierce mountains and endless seas. It’s brilliantly and hauntingly brought to life, and every character inhabits a different aspect of it, which moulds them as much as their circumstances do.
The language is beautiful; it’s obvious that Helgadóttir isn’t a native English speaker, but it’s not through any flaws. Instead, it tints the stories with a lyrical edge, bringing out the otherworld aspect of the dying society that is trying to survive in a harsh new land.
Any of these stories could be read on their own, but they make up a haunting tale when taken as a whole. This is a beautiful collection that demands a re-read.
Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of the book by @FoxSpiritBooks in exchange for an honest review, and I will freely admit that I absolutely loved the stories!
I’m also adding this to my Discoverability Challenge!