Beyond the skyline of Toledo stands the Toledo Institute of Astronomy, the nation's premier center of astronomical discovery and a beacon of scientific learning for astronomers far and wide. One of these is George Dermont, a dreamer and a man of deep faith, who's trying to prove the scientific existence of a Gateway to God, and speaks to ancient gods and believes they speak back. Its newest star is Irene Sparks, a pragmatist and mathematician invited to lead the Institute's work on a massive superconductor being constructed below Toledo. This would be a scientist's dream come true, but it's particularly poignant for Irene who has been in self-imposed exile from Toledo and her estranged alcoholic mother, Bernice. When Bernice dies unexpectedly, Irene resolves to return to Toledo, and sets in motion a series of events which place George and Irene on a collision course with love, destiny and fate.
George and Irene were born to be together. Literally. Their mothers, friends since childhood, hatched a plan to get pregnant together, raise the children together and then separate them so as to become each other's soulmates as adults. Can true love exist if engineered from birth?
Lydia Netzer's How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky is a mind-bending, heart-shattering love story for dreamers and pragmatists alike, exploring the conflicts of fate and determinism, and asking how much of life is under our control and what is pre-ordained in the stars.
Some of the recent comments posted about How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky. Join the discussion! You can see the full discussion here.
Are you more comfortable believing in astronomy or astrology? Is science more trustworthy than faith?
Astronomy is more factual but it too changes. Facts change even in science. Astrology to me is more of a fun thing to be taken with a grain of salt. Sometimes astrology seems to hit the nail on the head. - alycet
I agree with Sandra54 and Melindah--Irene and Belion were well-suited for that moment in their lives. Both were inaccessible, just marking time until the "real" one came along. I loved it that Irene mistakingly thought Belion had planted the ... - BJ
Did you like the book? Would you recommend it?
Also - even though I wasn't crazy about the characters, I did think the prose was very skilled & poetic! - amberb
Do you think Irene's behavior is morbid or a positive way to come to grips with mortality? If someone you knew did this, would you feel intervention was necessary?
I feel that Irene uses the bridge thing as a way to get back on track. When she thinks she is not coping or doing what she should or measuring up to her own standards I think a trip to the bridge is how she sort of refocuses and determines that her ... - joyces
Do you think it is a natural impulse for best friends to want their children to grow up to be soulmates?
Yes, it is fun to imagine having that kind of connection to your child and to your friend. We all want to stay connected to the people we care about, and it would be assuring to know just who it is that will be a part of your child's future. ... - amberb
"Although the high-concept astrophysics and philosophy may initially feel daunting, and the story frequently veers from quirky into just plain weird, things pick up speed as well-rounded characters and a few surprising twists are introduced. Whatever their beliefs on fate, readers will root for George and Irene to find their way back to each other." - Publishers Weekly
"Just the kind of touchingly offbeat stuff you could expect from the author of Shine Shine Shine, a big debut that was a New York Times Notable Book, a Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist, and more." - Library Journal
"It's a powerful reinvention of the love story - sometimes heart-wrenching, sometimes glorious, but always truly original. Compelling, rich with ideas, and perfectly written, it left me breathless. I love this book, and you will, too." - Joshilyn Jackson, New York Times bestselling author of A Grown Up Kind of Pretty
"In How to Tell Toledo From the Night Sky, [Netzer] writes about "twin souls who collide and love each other forever." I urge you, dear reader, to collide with this book. It may just change the way you think about love." - David Abrams, author of Fobbit
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Rated of 5
Netzer's style is out of the box for me. Her version of 'magical realism' merging with eccentricity isn't quite to my tastes or standard. However, her premise is unique and her narratives always reach a level of normalcy towards the end which I find somewhat redeeming. Shine, Shine, Shine wasn't a show stopper for me, I'm sure many will disagree. I applaud her renegade style and her determination to see her vision through.
I am a science buff, this addition to the narrative was welcomed. Irene and George are charming. Irene the pragmatic and George idealistic. Their contrasts create tension, attraction and mass appeal.
Despite my aversion to Netzer's style, she has a gift forcing the reader to ask themselves a few poignant questions, a sign of a provoking narrative and a smart author. I found myself pondering destiny, astrology and unforeseen forces in general in matters of love. With their divided ways of seeing things, it gave the story a another level of interest by hearing their arguments regarding love and their union.
"Why do some people fall in love with each other, and others don't? What is love? It is so, so, so stupid right up until it's real. And then it's the most important thing in the world, whether you believe it or not."
The ending was superb, actually I felt it was going to go in a different direction, needless to say I am happy my prediction was incorrect and a pleasant surprise.
Netzer has no difficulty spinning an original romantic yarn, her unconventional characters, blending science and overall peculiar style forms a sweet sentimental story, leaving the peruser with loads to mull over. Entertaining read, Netzer fans will surely find this book more than enjoyable.
Rated of 5
A brilliant tale
I loved this book! Loved it! I couldn't put it down. The two main characters were so wonderfully written and the way they're brought together was both magical and heart-warming. Parts of it broke my heart and parts of it glued it back together. I would jump at the chance to read something else by this author.
Rated of 5
An Amalgam of all things nerdy and quirky.
Reading Netzer for the first time and I am glad i received this advance copy as a book club read.
A mystery/romance arranged marriage and some unrequitted love. This novel has all these elements woven into a nerdy story with some quirky characters, role playing gamers, interspersed with poetry, super-collider sex, black holes, astronomy, astrology, and tea leaves. Somewhere between science and art appreciation, this story goes from hippie to scientific and back to everyday mundane living.
A satisfying read.
Lydia Netzer was born in Detroit and educated in the Midwest. She lives in Virginia with her two home-schooled children and mathmaking husband. When she isnt working as a book doctor, blogging, or drafting her second novel, she writes songs and plays guitar in a rock band.
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