Jeanette is a young, solitary post-doctoral researcher who has dedicated her life to studying astronomy. Struggling to compete in a prestigious university department dominated by egos and incompetents, and caught in a cycle of brief and unsatisfying affairs, she travels to a mountain-top observatory in Chile to focus on her research.
There Jeanette stumbles upon evidence that will challenge the fundamentals of the universe, drawing her into conflict with her colleagues and the scientific establishment, but also casting her back to the tragic loss that defined her childhood. As the implications of her discovery gather momentum, and her relationships spiral out of control, Jeanette’s own grip on reality is threatened, finally forcing her to confront the hidden past.
Read an excerpt here.
It has been translated into German (by Zoe Beck). Its German title is ‘Weiter als der Himmel’ and it’s available from Weidle Verlag.
‘A delicate and fascinating study of a life in which intellect and external microscopic and cosmic fields interact.’ Stephen Fry, Judge of the Dundee International Book Prize 2012
‘This is a fine debut from a writer with considerable scientific knowledge and experience, in addition to her abundant literary talent. The Falling Sky moves deftly between different aspects of the life of Jeanette, a junior astronomy researcher whose discovery upsets the power-play of her more senior colleagues. Through the back-story of her family tragedy, and the complications of her love life, we get a touching picture of a young woman trying to find her place in the universe.’ Andrew Crumey, author of Mr Mee, Moebius Dick and Sputnik Caledonia
‘This novel is brilliant on several levels. Beautifully written, with many flashes of dark humour, it is fascinating… and is also a terrific portrayal of one woman’s struggle with past tragedy and present difficulties.’ The Daily Mail – read the full review here
‘Pippa Goldschmidt has created a story of deeply moving humanity, dealing with our failures to understand fully the people that we are closest to – our family, our friends and our lovers. She writes in a style that will keep you reading, even when you know that you do not really understand the astronomical theories being written about.’ Scottish Review of Books – read the full review here
‘The writing throughout is assured and full of veracity, as observant about the frailties of human nature as it is about the strange blend of mundanity and profundity that makes up the typical day of a research scientist. Highly promising.’ Big Issue – read the full review here
‘Pippa Goldschmidt’s The Falling Sky is that rare thing: a literary novel that gets under the hood of science as a social enterprise, done by real and fallible people. It’s an extremely accomplished debut and the best evocation of the actual life of an astronomer I’ve ever read.’ Alastair Reynolds at Arcfinity – read the full review here
‘Lay readers and scientists alike will find Goldschmidt’s novel entertaining and will discover in Jeanette a thoroughly captivating and charming person, who will resonate in memory long after they have read the last page of the book.’ Lablit – read the full review here
‘… a complex portrait, handsomely done…’ New Scientist – read the full review here.
‘The fields of science and science fiction writing are traditionally looked upon as a male domain, certainly in the majority of those who have achieved a certain level where their names are immediately recognisable, yet debut novelist Pippa Goldschmidt has chosen to buck the trend by not only choosing to enter one of those fields, but both of them, and doing so with an assurance her leading character would be envious of.’ Geekchocolate – read the full review here