Lotte is an astronomer who spends her nights peering into deep space rather than looking too closely at herself. When she returns to her hometown after years in South America, reeling from a devastating diagnosis, she finds that much has changed. Lotte’s father has remarried, and she feels like an outsider in the house she grew up in. She’s estranged from her former best friend, Eve, who is busy with her own life, and unsure of how to recover the closeness they once shared. Initially, Lotte's return causes disharmony, but then it is the catalyst for a much more devastating event—an event that will change Lotte and Eve's lives forever.
If families are like solar systems—bodies that orbit in time with one another, sometimes close and sometimes far away—what is the force that drives them? And what are the consequences when the weight of one planet tugs others off course?
Gravity Well is a striking and tender tale of friendship and family: both the family we are born to, and the family we choose. Deeply compassionate and profoundly moving, it is a heartrending portrait of how we rebuild when the worst has happened.
“An expert dissection of friendship and relationships in all their beautiful, terrible, constantly surprising glory…Joosten has a gift for tracing the random lines of connection and disconnection that shape human life: the fractures that break us and the stubborn power of love to put us back together again.”
Kirsten Tranter, author of The Legacy
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“Melanie Joosten's devastating second novel reminds us of the risks and redemptive power of human connection. Gravity Well brilliantly conveys the magnitude of love and loss, even as its exquisite planetary imagery reveals how small we truly are.”
Emily Bitto, author of The Strays
“Masterfully constructed…Though there is loss at the center of Gravity Well, Joosten knows that the most urgent observations about life come from making sense of the unfathomable. This is a carefully crafted, emotionally cathartic novel. Our journey away from suffering, Joosten suggests, begins with our movement towards each other.”
“[Joosten’s] characters are faced with all the complexity of the modern world, and sometimes the decisions they make turn out to be wrong. Watching them face the consequences makes for riveting reading…This is the work of an elegant and vital novelist, someone fully engaged and grappling with the multitude of difficulties involved in the way we live now.”
Sydney Morning Herald
“Joosten’s plotting is both wonderfully assured and stunningly unexpected: as details fall into place readers cannot but admire her chutzpah even as they respond to the complex humanity of her intimately realized characters.”