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How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky: A Novel

How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky: A Novel

Написано Lydia Netzer

Озвучено Joshilyn Jackson


How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky: A Novel

Написано Lydia Netzer

Озвучено Joshilyn Jackson

оценки:
4/5 (4 оценки)
Длина:
11 hours
Издатель:
Издано:
Jul 1, 2014
ISBN:
9781427244161
Формат:
Аудиокнига

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Описание

Beyond the skyline of Toledo stands the Toledo Institute of Astronomy, the nation's premier center of astronomical discovery and a beacon of scientific learning for astronomers far and wide. One of these is George Dermont, a dreamer and a man of deep faith, who's trying to prove the scientific existence of a Gateway to God, and speaks to ancient gods and believes they speak back. Its newest star is Irene Sparks, a pragmatist and mathematician invited to lead the Institute's work on a massive superconductor being constructed below Toledo.

This would be a scientist's dream come true, but it's particularly poignant for Irene who has been in self-imposed exile from Toledo and her estranged alcoholic mother, Bernice. When Bernice dies unexpectedly, Irene resolves to return to Toledo, and sets in motion a series of events which place George and Irene on a collision course with love, destiny and fate.

George and Irene were born to be together. Literally. Their mothers, friends since childhood, hatched a plan to get pregnant together, raise the children together and then separate them so as to become each other's soulmates as adults. Can true love exist if engineered from birth?

Lydia Netzer's How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky is a mind-bending, heart-shattering love story for dreamers and pragmatists alike, exploring the conflicts of fate and determinism, and asking how much of life is under our control and what is pre-ordained in the stars.

A Macmillan Audio production.

Издатель:
Издано:
Jul 1, 2014
ISBN:
9781427244161
Формат:
Аудиокнига

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Об авторе

LYDIA NETZER lives in Virginia with her husband and two redheaded children. She is the author of How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky and Shine Shine Shine, a NYT Notable Book and a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize.

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3.8
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Отзывы читателей

  • (4/5)
    wow. I think the theme is about fate. Great characters.
  • (5/5)
    This was one of those books that I was so looking forward to reading that when I started I was like, huh, why am I so disappointed? And then I remembered how Shine Shine Shine creeped up on me until at the end I was just blowing through pages and the end came and it was like YES! That IS how it is all supposed to be!Well, this was like that. When will your next one be out, Lydia Netzer? I am such a pathetic fan-girl.
  • (2/5)
    George and Irene are two scientists who feel an instant romantic connection, but later question whether that connection is genuine. The storyline alternates between present day and the 1970s-80s, where the reader also spends some time with George and Irene's mothers. I found this story to be very odd, and unlike pretty much any other book I have read. Because of the weirdness, I didn't really enjoy it. There were many odd characters, and lots of strange things took place. For example, a narwhal was pulled out of the river by hand, and some of the characters communicated in their own made-up language. There are a lot of descriptions of astronomy topics. Frequently, the thoughts and feelings of the character's are described in very abstract ways. There were some funny moments where I laughed out loud. The intimate scenes and scenes in which intimate topics were discussed were just awkward, gross, and weird. I would have liked more on the Belion/Silvergirl story. I feel like that just kind of fizzled out. I felt like the ending was kind of quick and abrupt, although I will say I did like how it ended. As for the audiobook, the characters are well differentiated by the narrator, although the voices used were over dramatic and cartoonish. It was almost as if she tried too hard to differentiate the characters, and ended up with over the top voices. Multiple times I was stopped in surprise by the bizarre voices I heard. The annunciation was great, but her voice was child-like. Some of the character's voices were quite annoying, particularly Belion, Bernice and Dean. If someone I knew in real life had a voice like Belion's, I think I would avoid talking to them. He sounded like a rugged old mountain man, but he was supposed to be a 30ish gamer guy. This type of narration definitely added to the weirdness of the book. Overall, this story was just too weird for me to really like. I know I have used the word "weird" a lot, but that is just the best way to sum up my thoughts and feelings after listening to this book!This is the first book I have read by Lydia Netzer, but I have listened to other books narrated by Joshilyn Jackson, and enjoyed them. How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky: A Novelis by Lydia Netzer, narrated by Joshilyn Jackson. This audio book consists of 9 CDs and is 11.5 hours. This is a Macmillan Audiobook from St. Martin's Press, published in 2014. I was provided a copy by Audiobook Jukebox to listen to and review.
  • (4/5)
    3.5 Do you believe in the concept of soul mates? That they can be engineered? Can two people be fated to meet? George and Irene are delightful characters, their are many amusing passages and throw in a few other outlandish characters and a strange backstory and you have the making of a entertaining read. Along with some astronomy, gods and goddesses and a video game, with some astrology and aware dreaming thrown in for good measure. Netzer sure has a great imagination, creates some wonderfully quirky characters and a story that clips along at a steady pace.
  • (4/5)
    This is a story about two astronomers who were born to be together. Literally. Their mothers planned everything so that they would be perfect for each other. But things happened, plans changed, and Irene grows up with an alcoholic mother, not believing in love, and George grows up seeing visions of gods. Eventually, whether through science or fate, they meet and fall in love. Or is it love? This was an interesting book. I love stories about science and the stars and true love, so it rang all of my bells. However, I did get kind of confused at some points, especially when Netzer wrote her tangents on the nature and all-consuming power of "true love" and fate; I just thought that those parts ran on too long. But there were a lot of funny and beautifully written moments. I also liked how some of the events were left unexplained...was it science, or fate after all?
  • (4/5)
    So this guy renames himself ""Belion"". I think that's really cool. I love how intelligent all of Netzer's characters are. This book was supposed to make you think,... umm... I'm still thinking about what to say about it.
  • (5/5)
    How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky by Lydia Netzer is a very highly recommended buddy-novel-cum-romance-cum-dysfunctional-family story about cosmology, astronomy, and astrology. Yes, it is all that and more.

    In Pittsburg astrophysicist Irene Sparks has made a research discovery that will define her career. At the same time her research project shows results, her estranged mother Bernice, an alcoholic who worked as a psychic, has a fatal fall at her home in Toledo. Sparks' ground breaking discovery has allowed her to accept her dream position at the Toledo Institute of Astronomy, while concurrently dealing with her mother's demise. She is leaving her boyfriend, Belion, behind, but he soon calls and says he is coming to Toledo too.

    Already at the Toledo Institute of Astronomy is George Dermont, an astrophysicist who just happens to be trying to prove that a gateway to the gods exists. Unknown to all but his father, George actually sees some of these gods in his daily life and has for years. George has always felt that he is missing someone, someone who was there but then left. He's also on the prowl for any female astronomer with brown hair who also happens to be a dreamer. A Psychic once told him that would describe the woman with whom he would fall in love. When he sees Irene for the first time he knows she is the one, the one he has been missing for years.

    Unknown to either Irene or George is the fact that their mothers used to be very good friends and had planned from their conception that their children would be soul mates - that they were destined for each other. But currently neither George nor Irene has a clue that their mothers ever knew each other, let alone had a plan for their future - together.

    This is a wonderfully quirky, mind-bending, eccentric story. I'll fully admit that I thought I had the plot all figured out very early on, and as one prediction after another came to be true, I was feeling a little smug, and a little let-down, that is until Netzer threw in some zingers and surprised me. This is not a run-of-the-mill love story. It is an original blend of science, mythology, fate, predetermination, psychics, gaming, family history, dream-control, and romance. It is totally original and unique.

    Netzer's writing ability has to be a major part of the success that she can pull off such an unusual story and have it work so well. The characters were wonderfully realized, totally formed individuals that are certainly unique. The plot is a creative blend of what an astute reader might guess is going to happen along with some real surprises that I'll venture no one would predict.

    I love Netzer's Shine, Shine, Shine and was a bit worried that How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky wouldn't live up to her first novel. It was a crazy concern with no basis in fact. This is an excellent novel that stands on its own and need no comparison to her first novel. In fact, I had an audio copy of Shine, Shine, Shine and loved it, but after reading Netzer I'm planning to go back and read it so I can savor her written words. She has a brilliant way of expressing herself and I think I need to see her written words.

    Now, while I adored this novel I can see where some people might have a problem with its mix of psychics, and sex, and science, so keep that in mind.

    Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of St. Martin's Press via Netgalley for review purposes.
  • (4/5)
    At the Toledo Institute of Astronomy, George Dermont is hoping to prove the scientific existence of a Gateway to God. Clear-eyed mathematician Irene Sparks has come to the institute to direct work on its massive superconductor. Imagine their surprise when they fall for each other, then discover that their mothers raised them together and subsequently separated them in an attempt to engineer true love.I've been pondering this tale since I finished it months ago. A satisfactory review has eluded me and rather than wait for a wonderful one to manifest itself....here goes!Lydia Netzer has created a novel that reminds me of a Bruegel painting--you know, groups of people scattered around the canvas, all busy doing different things. And yet the diversity of action reiterates the theme. As we stretch out our technological hands towards space grasping for names, answers and understanding, we are, at the same time, reaching towards the uncharted space inside ourselves. This is how I understand the novel’s theme and intriguing title HOW TO TELL TOLEDO FROM THE NIGHT SKY.The StarTribune saw it this way:Ultimately, Netzer exposes the magic in the mundane, the enchantment of the earthbound. Her characters, like us, share space with the stars. Perhaps the most breathtaking revelation of Netzer’s novel is that the world is more dazzling on our side of the atmosphere. And often darker! As in SHINE SHINE SHINE, this novel’s “cover story” is science. This time astrophysics is contrasted with astrology--Irene’s mother is a palm reader and theology--colleague George is convinced he has found a gateway to God. Other reviews have pointed out the yin/yang elements of science and magic, fate and free will, soul mates vs arranged marriage; Netzer arranges these contrasts to her unique comedic tunes. However I found the strangely coercive relationship between the protagonists’ mothers jarring even in a comedy as quirky and often dark as this.For a finish, I don’t think I enjoyed HOW TO TELL TOLEDO FROM THE NIGHT SKY as much as I thought I would. I appreciated the skilful plotting and the off-the-wall perspective Lydia Netzer brought to a simple “love story”. And I would challenge any reader to remain immune to the charms of George Dermont! But for me, the parts didn’t add up to a “whole”. Still, Lydia Netzer is a top rate storyteller! 7 out of 10 Highly recommended to fans of magical realism, comedic love stories and super colliders!
  • (4/5)
    George and Irene were destined to fall in love. Their astrologer moms came up with a plan to get pregnant at the same time, give birth on the same date, raise their children together and then separate them so they would one day find each other again as soulmates.Twenty-nine years later:Irene Sparks is an astrophysicist. In her Pittsburgh lab she has just made an extraordinary scientific breakthrough creating black holes and has been offered a prominent position at the Toledo Institute of Astronomy. At the same moment Irene makes her scientific discovery, her mother suffers a fatal fall down the stairs.George Dermont is an instructor at the Toledo Institute of Astronomy. He has just been told to move out of his lab. They have given it to Irene. They gave her his lab assistant too. George doesn’t seem very upset and wonders if Irene has brown hair. When he does meet her, the connection between the two is immediate. And Irene has brown hair.Joining George and Irene are a cast of peculiar characters ranging from the baffling to the bizarre. In between chapters on George, Irene, and their budding romance, we move back in time 29 years to learn about their births, and how their moms, Sally and Bernice, came up with, and implemented, a plan for their children to be soulmates. In the present Irene must reconcile her feelings about her estranged, and now deceased, alcoholic mother now that she has moved back to her childhood home in Toledo.To call this book quirky is an understatement. Original and clever, it’s a magical journey of romance and mysticism woven together with science, mathematics and astronomy. At times baffling and often unfathomable, there was much to like about George and Irene’s tale. And while I enjoyed the book, I wasn’t able to fully immerse myself into the magical aspect of predestined love determined by the stars. Perhaps the reality of hard science was getting in my way.For those looking for something different and open to the unusual, this is a book worth picking up.
  • (4/5)
    Irene Sparks and George Dermont were born on the very same day in the same hospital in Toledo. But life sent them in different directions, and when they meet, 29 years later, each recognizes a soulmate immediately; for both of them, it is as if the universe seems somehow re-aligned.Both Irene and George are scientists, and as the story begins, Irene has just transferred to the (fictional) Toledo Institute of Astronomy, where George is teaching. They find they have radically different orientations toward epistemology. Irene is a strict empiricist, but George sees the gods everywhere he looks. Literally, in fact. Irene doesn’t need gods and myth to overcome the cruelty of chaos - she has math.The Institute of Astronomy is an interesting place in that it draws astrologers as much as it draws astronomers. Both of course are interested in understanding the stars, and the disciplines, historically intertwined, are drawing together again at the Institute, which is witnessing a rebirth of the art and science of astrology: "There is no evidence or proof of the legitimacy of any theories or principles of astrology. There is no reason to believe that stars and planets or their movement could have any influence whatsoever on the lives of human beings or the countries of the earth. Neither is there any empirical evidence to show that true love is anything but a construct created by humans to solidify a family unit based on monogamy and a strong, diverse lineage for the species. No evidence of any true god. And yet we watch the stars, we fall in love, we pray. … ”Irene insists that there is no such thing as love. And yet, she, who has spent her life trying not to fall into the black hole of despair, starts to suspect that it is only love that keeps us from death. So what if it isn’t real? So what if there is no such thing as fate? As George says to Irene, love doesn’t have to be true to be real. There is nothing else to say about it when it happens; it’s done. But convincing Irene is another matter.Discussion: This novel is very well written, with passages that call out “Iowa Writer’s Workshop” for their craftmanship. [To my knowledge, however, the author is not an alumna of that particular program.] It begins with a cinematic zoom-in and ends with a cinematic fade-out, very reminiscent of “It’s A Wonderful Life.” And like that story, it is a tale of love that was meant to be - and in fact, coincidentally, the male protagonist is even named George. But there are many more layers in this story. The author has a marvelous eye for the idiosyncratic nature of the human condition. Both George and Irene have what can most charitably be described as “quirky” parents. Both have been raised steeped in poetic allusion, and indeed, like the book Lighthouse Island by Paulette Jiles, there are quite a few references to poems in the text that will go unnoticed by those unfamiliar with Yeats or Blake or Eliot. (Interestingly, both Jiles and Netzer not only interpolate the same poets into their narratives, but also both adapt the famous romantic conceit from Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, in this case, when Irene remarks upon “some force pulling her ribs to his, her internal organs to his.”) The literary excerpts and adaptations are juxtaposed with a myriad of scientific analogies, forming a lovely complement and interdisciplinary amalgamation, much as the Toledo Institute includes both astronomers and astrologers in its its star-studded halls.Evaluation: This melding of science and magic thematic elements is full of intelligent, thought-provoking meditations on the nature of knowing and the nature of love, and some exceptionally good writing.
  • (4/5)
    When Irene Sparks develops an instrument to produce little black holes in a laboratory, she is immediately hired by the prestigious Toledo Institute of Astronomy. She is immediately shunned by her new lab assistant who is loyal to George, the astronomer whose lab she now occupies, whose assistant she now bosses, and who has now been sent to a tiny office in the basement. However, when she and George finally meet, they immediately fall for each other. How can they not when they discover that they were born on the same day, they like the same obscure poetry and music, they’re both scientists, and they both love the stars and Toledo; in fact they are so much alike, it’s almost like they were made for each other. If you are expecting any real science or tips on stargazing here, you’re not going to find any. You will find astrology, mythical gods, and some interesting literary references. But most of all, you will find a sweet, quirky, and sometimes humourous love story of two people who are true soul mates, whose fate was written in the stars and the tarot cards long before they were born.
  • (4/5)
    George Dermont knows who he’s looking for, but just can’t find her. She needs to be an astronomer with brown hair who also happens to be a dreamer. When he collides with Irene, a perfect match for his description, the pair hits it off without realizing the work that went into their meeting. Friends since childhood, their mothers raised them to be soulmates and set them on a path toward finding one other, unsure of the course that would follow.

    Lydia Netzer’s writes like no one else. How to Tell Toledo From the Night Sky is a mash-up of dream worlds and black holes and online RPG’s blended with crazy schemes and plans. But behind the novel’s quirky exterior is Netzer’s ability to touch deeply on themes pulled from everyday life. Readers may not understand the science behind astronomy or see the appeal in online gaming, but each of the book’s characters carries a set of hopes and fears that are nearly universal.

    As George and Irene navigate the waters of their strange relationship and discover what their mothers attempted to build, they both expose themselves to the dangers of real risk and emotion for the first time. Far from a generic love story, How to Tell Toledo From the Night Sky is a wonderfully weird blend of science, love and fate set against the trials of family and friendship.

    More at rivercityreading.com