Julie Christine's Reviews > A Trip to the Stars

A Trip to the Stars by Nicholas Christopher
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really liked it
bookshelves: imagined-worlds, read-2011
Recommended to Julie Christine by: Jeanette

** spoiler alert ** Leaving a Manhattan planetarium in 1965, 10-year old Loren grasps the gloved hand of a woman he mistakes for his aunt, Alma. It will be fifteen years before Loren sees Alma again. Her name will be Mala, his name Enzo, and the separate journeys they take before they are reunited are the focus of this epic, fantastical story of love, betrayal, spiders and stars.

It is a pleasure to suspend belief as A Trip to the Stars unfolds. Mala and Enzo relate their stories in alternating sections and a world of characters pours forth. Mala begins a quest- first searching for her nephew, then for a vanished lover, and ultimately for her soul- that takes her from New Orleans to Vietnam, then through island archipelagos that represent her loose connection to earth. Enzo is cocooned at a sprawling hotel outside Las Vegas, surrounded by a Gothic cast of permanent and transient residents who serve as tutors of his eclectic education. Mala and Enzo are connected by a cleverly rendered combination of star-crossed fate and merciless human manipulation.

Much of this novel is ravishing diversion. Much of it is grinding tedium. Nicholas Christopher infuses Mala's storyline with tremendous passion and feeling. You soar as she discovers deep, abiding love and crash when she loses her way. Her journey, both mystical and maddening, is fascinating.

Most of Enzo's life is related as expository detail. Told in first person by Enzo, it drags on and on, with a voice that never varies, no matter what Enzo's age. It reads as one long flashback, like an interminable movie voiceover. Christopher mires this storyline in so much exhausting detail that he loses all sense of urgency, suspense, and relevance. The threads that weave together to form the complete tapestry of Enzo's and Mala's destinies are found throughout Enzo's narrative, so resist the temptation to skim. But be prepared to suffer boredom at the eye-rolling conceit.

Christopher's prose can be so achingly beautiful, his imagination vast and astonishing, his characters warm and profound. Despite my frustration with the author's style choices A Trip To The Stars will stay with me. And the night sky will hold deeper wonder.
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Reading Progress

October 27, 2010 – Shelved
July 24, 2011 – Started Reading
July 24, 2011 – Shelved as: imagined-worlds
July 28, 2011 –
page 148
29.66% "My enthusiasm has dimmed. The author spent the previous 40 pages or so "telling" instead of "showing.""
July 30, 2011 –
page 300
60.12% "Still intrigued, still frustrated!"
July 31, 2011 – Shelved as: read-2011
July 31, 2011 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-10 of 10 (10 new)

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Lisa Coincidence... I just ordered this over the weekend.


Julie Christine I'm about 100 pages in and so far I'm loving it. I'd be much farther along but a)I'm insanely busy & b)the sun was out all weekend and I played my pants off. Otherwise I'd be curled up with this. Long way to go, yet, so we'll see!


Julie Christine Jeanette wrote: "Julie wrote: "I played my pants off."

Now THIS I gotta see!"


Hee! Actually, I DID dance my shoes off at a wedding on Saturday! ALso lost some skin on my feet. Oy! Love you, BTW.


Julie Christine There is video...


Julie Christine Get a few glasses of wine in me and I'll post some of it here. Get a few glasses of wine in me and I become a dancin' fool :-D


Julie Christine read, but not ready to rate...


Julie Christine Jeanette wrote: "Interesting how you viewed this, Julie. For me, the style with Enzio was because he was the "fixed star," so to speak, whereas Mala was in orbit, sometimes almost colliding with him but missing by ..."

Jeanette- what a beautiful way to describe the relationship between Mala and Enzo. I love the sense and visual of this!


Lisa I also love your perspective on Mala and Enzo's contrasting arcs, Jeanette. Thank you for yet another spot-on recommendation.

Curious as to both of your thoughts of Auro? He served a purpose, but I'm not astute enough to decipher it yet.


Lisa He was the cousin with echolalia. I can only imagine the amount of crazy research and notes this author had to do. There is just so. much. there. Echolalia. Zunis. Asteroids. Memory palaces. Latin. Spiders. Observatories. NASA. Atlantis. My head is spinning! Amazing that he could keep it all straight.


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