THE BIG BANG SYMPHONY by Lucy Jane Bledsoe


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Three women come to Antarctica looking for answers and find each other.

Rosie Moore is an Antarctic veteran. But as she heads toward the continent for her third season working in the McMurdo Station kitchen, she finds herself questioning her nomadic nature and longing for a home. Composer Mikala Wilbo is a newcomer, hoping to bury her grief over the death of her longtime partner as she finally confronts her absentee father, a former hippie who has become one of the Pole’s most renowned scientists. It’s Rosie’s expertise that helps Mikala survive when their plane crashes on the ice, and Rosie’s sheer animal exuberance that first starts to reawaken the composer, who hasn’t written any music in months. But when Rosie discovers the dead body of a young woman who seems to have wandered off from the crash, the two are once again confronted by the fragility of life. “[T]he line between terror and peace, as well as the one between life and death, was mathematically thin, existed only in theory,” Rosie realizes. When Alice Neilson arrives to take the dead girl’s place, she acts as a catalyst. A determined homebody, in thrall to her controlling alcoholic mother, Alice is transformed by the Pole’s atmosphere of freedom. All three women find themselves falling in love, and all three must avoid the pitfalls of their pasts, until, finally, Alice’s emerging bravery sets in play a stunning rescue that will pull all three into a new phase of life. In this compelling novel, Bledsoe (How to Survive in Antarctica, 2006, etc.) captures the deadly beauty of the southernmost continent. Although the male characters tend to be a bit generic—gruff, sexy nerds—the three protagonists are distinctive.

A well-balanced humdinger of a story keeps this unusual novel hurtling along like a skidoo on the ice.

Pub Date: May 6th, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-299-23500-0
Page count: 340pp
Publisher: Univ. of Wisconsin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2010


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