Dorothy Porter’s fourth verse novel follows the orbits of an astronomer, an astrobiologist and a dying scholar as they move around each other in an unstable conjunction.
Alex is searching for signs of life—in polar ice cores, in volcanic chimneys on the sea floor, on the moons of Jupiter, and within and outside her marriage. An affair with the celebrated astronomer Phoebe exerts an ongoing gravitational pull while her husband Daniel retreats into poetry. As some secrets are uncovered and other remain elusive, Alex and Daniel struggle with love and desire, hope and disappointment, and whether we are alone in the universe.
‘The power and beauty of Porter’s poetry takes the reader instantly deeper into the character than a more traditional narrative prose would. It goes straight for the emotional response, revealing the story in the personal pain and longings of the characters’ inner voices.’ — Compulsive Reader
‘Light years from Dante’s hell, the Inquisition or Jupiter’s moons, it is a kind of love poetry. As ever in Porter’s work, there is much to discover.’ —The Sydney Morning Herald
‘A brilliant portrait of uneasy domesticity’ —Independent
Shortlisted for the 2003 Miles Franklin Award.
Winner of the Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature (SA) John Bray Award for Poetry & Premier‘s Award for Best Overall Published Work