When Maxon met Sunny he was seven years, four months and eighteen days old. Or, he was 2693 rotations of the earth old. Maxon was different. Sunny was different. They were different together. Now, they are married, and Sunny wants, more than anything, to be ‘normal’. But her husband is on a NASA mission to the moon, and a meteor is heading his way. Sunny wishes Maxon would turn the rocket around and come straight home. It’s not an easy life being the wife of an astronaut, the daughter of a sick mother, the mother to an autistic son and a supportive ear to your friends. Nor is it easy to be a fragile human being, a million miles away from home and family, alone in the great dark emptiness of space.
At the opening of Shine Shine Shine, these are exactly the positions Sunny and Maxon find themselves in. Lydia Netzer’s prose is flowing and smooth, but also unusual; it’s full of simile and metaphor. We view the world through the eyes on Sunny and Maxon in turn, including the way in which their worries and neuroses warp their perception and therefore ours. So a crack in a wall by the pantry noticed by Sunny is deep and gaping, but then in fact is tiny and barely noticeable. When she visits her mother in hospital, although she is dying on the inside, Sunny puts that out of her mind, focussing on her external beauty, including the vines – tubes and wires – curling around her limbs and growing from her mouth.
I found this ‘making strange’ tech type really refreshing. Shine Shine Shine is a very fresh, atypical telling of what is really a universal story of love and families parted and reunited.
Shine Shine Shine is out on the 5th July from Simon & Schuster.
Kate Neilan @Magic_kitten