The Actual Star: A Novel

Category: Book
By (author): Byrne, Monica
Subject:  FICTION / Alternative History
  FICTION / General
  FICTION / Sagas
  FICTION / Visionary & Metaphysical
Audience: general/trade
Publisher: HarperCollins
Published: September 2021
Format: Book-hardcover
Pages: 624
Size: 9.00in x 6.00in
Our Price:
$ 34.99
Available to order

Additional Notes

From The Publisher*

David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas meets Octavia Butler's Earthseed series, as acclaimed author Monica Byrne (The Girl in the Road) spins a brilliant multigenerational saga spanning two thousand years, from the collapse of the ancient Maya to a far-future utopia on the brink of civil war.

The Actual Star takes readers on a journey over two millennia and six continents -telling three powerful tales a thousand years apart, all of them converging in the same cave in the Belizean jungle.

Braided together are the stories of  a pair of teenage twins who  ascend the throne ofa Maya kingdom; a young American woman on a trip of self-discovery in Belize; and two dangerous charismatics vying for the leadership of a new religion and racing toward a confrontation that will determine the fate of the few humans left on Earth after massive climate change.

In each era, a reincarnated trinity of souls navigates the entanglements of tradition and progress, sister and stranger, and love and hate-until all of their age-old questions about the nature of existence converge deep underground, where only in complete darkness can they truly see.

The Actual Star is a feast of ideas about where humanity came from, where we are now, and where we're going-and how, in every age, the same forces that drive us apart also bind us together.

Review Quote*"Contained in this book is a vivid historical novel, a heartfelt contemporary narrative, and a mind-boggling science fiction story, all tightly braided together into a single experience that is bold, wild, profound. It's a novel you won't forget."
Review Quote*"Sweeping, mesmerizing, The Actual Star is a travelogue of souls, an epic that leaps lightly between the centuries. From the royal children of an ancient Mayan dynasty to the nomadic pilgrims of a far-future religion, Byrne draws her interconnected characters with compassion and depth, weaving their stories into a mystery with echoes in past, present, and future. At the center of it all is Leah, a young American woman whose search for her roots in Belize will have repercussions far beyond her lifetime. A magnificent achievement!"
Review Quote*"Breathtaking in scope and ambition. With Byrne as your assured guide, The Actual Star offers so much to discover from the first read, and invites returning to over and over."
Review Quote*"The Actual Star is a book about sacrifice, about the long view and deep time, about the universality of human experience and the particularity of any given moment. It's a first-rate work of sf, and a hopeful and fearful book about the climate. It's just great."
Review Quote*"A fascinating and intricately woven piece of speculative fiction...Byrne's work delves into themes about entropy, destiny, how place affects us as we change the world, and the search for meaning. But it is also a thoroughly human work where ambition, loneliness, love, and the need to belong resonate, no matter the year. Complex and captivating."
Review Quote*"An indescribable epic saga of three reincarnated souls from the author of The Girl in the Road. . . The Actual Star is for those who love complexities and questions that transcend single lives."
Review Quote*"It's transfixing to watch Monica Byrne become a major player in sci-fi with her debut novel: so sharp, so focused and so human. Beautifully drawn people in a future that feels so close you can touch it, blended with the lush language and concerns of myth. It builds a bridge from past to future, from East to West. Glorious stuff."
Review Quote*"The Girl in the Road is a brilliant novel, vivid, intense, and fearless with a kind of savage joy. These journeys-Meena's across the Arabian Sea and Mariama's across Africa-are utterly unforgettable." 
Review Quote*"One of The Girl in the Road's many strengths [is] Byrne's nuanced yet viscerally potent exploration of sexuality. There's a lyricism to her prose that's both blunt and deceptively dimensional...delivered with all the vivid, haunting poignancy of a vision quest."