Book review: The Comet Seekers – Helen Sedgwick (Harvill Secker)

The set-up: (Tricky to give a brief summary for this one…) The story of how two very different people came to end up in a small tent in Antarctica together. We’re given glimpses into their lives’ when various comets are present in the sky, as they grow and deal with ghosts, both real(?) and imagined.


The review: I picked this up at the Edinburgh Book Festival, and from what I saw, it seemed every second person was taking a copy to the tills.


Sedgwick is an excellent writer. The prose of The Comet Seekers seems effortless, the kind of great writing which pulls you in and makes you forget you’re holding a book (which is very hard to do with ‘literary’ fiction). The framing device of the comets works well (who knew there were so many of these things!) and the split between the characters is well-judged. I never found myself having to flick back to remind myself where a character left off.


‘Emotionally draining’ is a phrase which springs to mind. For that reason, you may (like I did) take a while to read The Comet Seekers, as just a few pages felt like enough for one sitting.


The verdict: Buy the physical book, the cover is fantastic.




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