The Path of Minor Planets A Novel

Andrew Sean Greer




Trade Paperback

288 Pages



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In 1965, on a small island in the South Pacific, a group of astronomers gathers to witness the passing of a comet, but when a young boy dies during a meteor shower, the lives of the scientists and their loved ones change in subtle yet profound ways. Denise struggles for respect in her professional life; married Eli becomes increasingly attracted to Denise and her quixotic mind; and young Lydia attempts to escape the scientists’ long-casting shadows. Andrew Sean Greer’s remarkable and sweeping first novel is an exploration of chances taken and lost, of love found and broken, and of time’s subtle gravitational pull on the lives of everyday and extraordinary people.


Praise for The Path of Minor Planets

"A carefully plotted, meticulously drawn story"—Chicago Tribune

“One of the wisest, most compassionate novels about smart people’s emotional lives to come around in years.”—San Francisco Chronicle Book Review

“Greer pinpoints the ‘tiny hidden madnesses in ordinary people’ with unerring accuracy, and, in prose littered with sparks, makes palpable the longing for the celestial.”—The New Yorker

“[Greer’s] carefully crafted sentences can ring with ethereal beauty, and his metaphors are vivid and creative . . . Greer is a writer to watch; he has a literary style that’s worth wrapping around his sensitive perspective on the world.”—The Boston Globe

"Perhaps [no novelist] has blended the worlds of astronomy and romance so stunningly as Andrew Greer . . . Startlingly clever phrasing and a careful sensitivity with a wide range of characters . . . [with] remarkably wise insight into the nature if marriage and friendship."—The Christian Science Monitor

"Each of the book's five sections nearly stands alone as a novella, with beautifully observed details and refreshing economy . . . [With] seamless prose . . . the novel is both subtle and sublime, an impressive debut."—The Washington Post Book World

"Stunning in both its skill and soul . . . It's almost as if Greer were channeling Woolf via Michael Cunningham . . . This is one novel that doesn't need the adjective 'debut' to qualify its achievement."—Rachel Howard, The San Francisco Examiner

"Erudite and deeply moving, The Path of Minor Planets brings to mind the work of Alice McDermott and Ethan Canin. A novel of refined, intricate beauty by a writer whom I will always read."—David Ebershoff, author of The Danish Girl

"A strong vision so consistently gorgeous."—Kirkus Reviews

"A dazzling hybrid of a book, half love story, half scientific adventure, Greer's compelling and original debut explores the rarefied world of astronomers whose professional reliance on reason and objectivity has left them ill-prepared to navigate the dark territories of the human heart."—Jenny Opfill, author of Last Things

"If more of us looked at the world the way Andrew Sean Greer does, we might be a little less eager to cheapen and destroy it. His vision is clear, his heart true; in his fiction, as in Woolf's, even misery glows with an almost unearthly light."—J. Robert Lennon, author of On the Night Plain

Reviews from Goodreads



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Andrew Sean Greer is the bestselling author of five works of fiction, including The Story of a Marriage, which The New York Times has called an "inspired, lyrical novel," and The Confessions of Max Tivoli, which was named a best book of 2004 by the San Francisco Chronicle and the Chicago Tribune. His stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Esquire, and The Paris Review. He is the recipient of the Northern California Book Award, the California Book Award, the New York Public Library Young Lions Award, the O Henry Award for short fiction and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and
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  • Andrew Sean Greer

  • Andrew Sean Greer is the author of the story collection How It Was For Me. His fiction has appeared in such publications as Esquire, Story, Ploughshares, and The Paris Review. He currently lives in San Francisco, California.
  • Andrew Sean Greer Copyright Henry Dombey
    Andrew Sean Greer