Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Nine novels about finding purpose & identity through someone else

Jennifer Savran Kelly (she/her/they/them) lives in Ithaca, New York, where she writes, binds books, and works as a production editor at Cornell University Press. Endpapers is her debut novel. In 2018 it won a grant from the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund. In 2019 it was selected as a finalist for the SFWP Literary Awards program and for the James Jones First Novel Fellowship. Her short fiction has appeared in Hobart, Black Warrior Review, Green Mountains Review, Iron Horse Literary Review, Grist: A Journal of the Literary Arts (Online Companion), and elsewhere. In 2014, she was selected to study in the Writer to Writer Mentorship Program of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs.

At Electric Lit she tagged nine novels "about people searching for connection and what happens when we believe another person holds the key to a meaningful life and sense of self. What happens when we find—or don’t find—what we’re looking for?" One title on the list:
Singer Distance by Ethan Chatagnier

As 1960 draws to a close, Crystal Singer, her boyfriend Rick, and three MIT grad students drive out to the dessert to send a message to Mars, which has been silent for 30 years. But the weight of the mathematical understanding that allows Crystal to communicate with aliens also threatens her stability. Soon she disappears, setting Rick on a years-long path to find her. A book about chasing connection across the galaxy and across Earth, Singer Distance is a story of love, loneliness, and hope, mixed with insights about science, math, the universe, and who we are once we discover the truly complex nature of distance—between points and between one another.
Read about another entry on the list.

Q&A with Ethan Chatagnier.

The Page 69 Test: Singer Distance.

--Marshal Zeringue