“The Necessity of Stars” by E. Catherine Tobler – Book Review
E. Catherine Tobler’s prose shines in her new novella The Necessity of Stars, a story about memory loss during a turbulent future. The novella is available from Neon Hemlock Press.
I received a free review copy of The Necessity of Stars from Neon Hemlock Press in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
As Bréone grows older, her past and present memories erode. A diplomat for the United Nations, she now resides in Irislands, a Normandy estate unmarred by climate change. Her friend Delphine keeps her company. One day, something strange happens around the tree near Bréone’s house, and she goes to check it out. An alien called Tura lurks among the shadows of Bréone, and this entity will be the key to help her move forward in this troubling world.
Tobler’s ethereal prose and storytelling exceeded my expectations here. From Bréone’s characterization as an elderly woman deemed “not useful” by the young and powerful to the haunting consequences of ignoring climate change, Tobler has constructed a gorgeous narrative that stays with you afterward.
The Necessity of Stars challenges perception and bias, especially during times of turmoil and crisis. Bréone still persists in her work as a UN diplomat even when her dwindling memory causes uncertainty and doubt. She knows that she needs to negotiate peace between the Kingdom (UK) and the rest of Europe. In a “safe” place isolated from the rest of the world, she struggles between keeping her place and slipping into a new life.
The clever writing effortlessly demonstrates Bréone’s gradual memory loss through her fragmented narrative. Parts of the novella show a sense of temporal disorientation. At times, we don’t know when Bréone is narrating from. Tobler’s carefully crafted scenes come together at the end, leaving her readers with a memorable story about adapting to a changing world.
The Necessity of Stars is available from Neon Hemlock Press.
You can learn more about E. Catherine Tobler here.
Author: Brahidaliz Martinez
Brahidaliz (pronounced Bra-da-leez) is a 2019 graduate of American University’s MFA in creative writing program. Their cross-genre chapbook, Coquí’s Song, is forthcoming (2023) from Mason Jar Press.
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