First published in 2001, Andrew Sean Greer's The Path of Minor Planets was generally warmly received in the United States, the author's home country, but failed to grab the attention of a wider audience. Failed that is, until now. This new edition intends to correct that undoubted oversight and emerges following the commercial success of two of his subsequent works: The Confessions of Max Tivoli (2004) and The Story of a Marriage (2008).
The book opens in 1965 on the Pacific island paradise of Bukit, where a group of scientists have gathered to witness the latest appearance of Comet Swift, which burns brightly across the dark skies only once every six years. This remarkable event is marred by the tragic death of a young boy caught in the freakish storm of a meteor shower, although Greer does not pause for long with such matters. Instead, his thoughtful work, which follows the slings and arrows of the scientists' fortunes over a lengthy period, is more a consideration of the constancy of the stars and the inconsistency and utterly fallible nature of the characters who populate his pages.