How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky
By Lydia Netzer
(St. Martin's Press, Hardcover, 9781250047021, 352pp.)
Publication Date: July 1, 2014
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Lydia Netzer, the award-winning author of Shine Shine Shine, weaves a mind-bending, heart-shattering love story that asks, “Can true love exist if it’s been planned from birth?”
Like a jewel shimmering in a Midwest skyline, the Toledo Institute of Astronomy is the nation's premier center of astronomical discovery and a beacon of scientific learning for astronomers far and wide. Here, dreamy cosmologist George Dermont mines the stars to prove the existence of God. Here, Irene Sparks, an unsentimental scientist, creates black holes in captivity.
George and Irene are on a collision course with love, destiny and fate. They have everything in common: both are ambitious, both passionate about science, both lonely and yearning for connection. The air seems to hum when they’re together. But George and Irene’s attraction was not written in the stars. In fact their mothers, friends since childhood, raised them separately to become each other's soulmates.
When that long-secret plan triggers unintended consequences, the two astronomers must discover the truth about their destinies, and unravel the mystery of what Toledo holds for them—together or, perhaps, apart.
Lydia Netzer combines a gift for character and big-hearted storytelling, with a sure hand for science and a vision of a city transformed by its unique celestial position, exploring the conflicts of fate and determinism, and asking how much of life is under our control and what is pre-ordained in the heavens.
LYDIA NETZER was born in Detroit and educated in the Midwest. She lives in Virginia with her two home-schooled children and math-making husband. When she isn’t teaching, reading, or writing her next novel, she plays the guitar in a rock band. Her first novel, Shine Shine Shine, was a New York Times Notable, and a Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist.
Praise for How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky:
“It’s a lovely summer valentine.” —Entertainment Weekly
“Antically inventive, often outrageously funny…Netzer excels at comedy.” —New York Times Book Review
“Two star-crossed stargazers twinkle in Lydia Netzer’s spritely How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky.” —Wall Street Journal
“[A] winning second novel…two flawed souls whose love is as quarky as it is quirky…showing us the redemptive power of love as a truly cosmic force.” —The Boston Globe
"A genuinely moving love story at its core, with the added bonus of humor that is sweet and almost soul touching."—Bookriot Round-Up
"Netzer’s sophomore effort may be even stronger than her excellent debut. Readers will be unable to stop thinking about this book, stunning in its poignancy, long after the last page has been read."—RT Book Reviews "Top Pick" (4.5 stars)
"An intelligent and imaginative love story." —Bookslut
“With a title that reads like a line of verse, the novel’s mesmerizing cadence is little surprise. There is a deeper poetry to Netzer’s writing, as well. 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.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune
"A diverting romp through two generations of well-intentioned friends and lovers...much-anticipated, fabulous second novel" —Booklist (starred review)
"Netzer’s star burst into existence with Shine Shine Shine and flares even more brightly in How to Tell Toledo From the Night Sky. Watch her work for further illumination, and pity lesser writers who settle for the commonplace light of ordinary days." —Richmond Times Dispatch
“Lydia Netzer delivers an original, quirky love story, glittering with stars and teeming with humor.” —Bustle.com
“No one writes like the brilliant Lydia Netzer; she’s a visionary with a huge voice and an impeccable ear for language. How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky evokes an Ohio where math has married mysticism, where a woman at war with falling in love can find herself flying into it instead, where a man will fight both his demons and his deities to finally connect. It’s a powerful reinvention of the love story---sometimes heart-wrenching, sometimes glorious, but always truly original. Compelling, rich with ideas, and perfectly written, it left me breathless. I love this book, and you will, too.”—Joshilyn Jackson, New York Times bestselling author of A Grown Up Kind of Pretty
"Lydia Netzer has a refreshing way of looking at the world that captivates me--it's as if she's leading me to a grassy hill far from the lights of a noisy city and there we lie on our backs, hands behind our heads, and stare at the star-pricked night sky in wide-eyed wonder. In her novels, she combines math, magic, and science in a unique alchemy that gives us an entirely new kind of love story. In How to Tell Toledo From the Night Sky, she writes about "twin souls who collide and love each other forever." I urge you, dear reader, to collide with this book. It may just change the way you think about love."—David Abrams, author of Fobbit
Praise for Shine Shine Shine:
“Not only entertaining, but nuanced and wise…blending wit and imagination with an oddly mesmerizing, matter-of-fact cadence...a delightfully unique love story and a resounding paean to individuality.” —People (People Pick)
“Netzer’s storytelling method is as poetic as her language...a stellar, thought-provoking debut.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Over the moon with a metaphysical spin. Heart-tugging…it is struggling to understand the physical realities of life and the nature of what makes us human….Nicely unpredictable…Extraordinary.” —Janet Maslin, The New York Times
“You’re pulled into the drama through the incredible natural beauty of her writing … deftly and wittily done … people say her style reminds them of Anne Tyler, but she reminded me a little bit more of Don DeLillo.” —Liesl Schillinger, The New York Times Book Review Podcast
“Entirely winning…a refreshingly weird story about the exuberant weirdness of familial love.” —The Wall Street Journal