Feature

Novel of the week: Shine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer

In this oddball love story, a Nobel-winning roboticist leaves his family to establish a robot colony on the moon.

(St. Martin’s, $25)

“A novel with a heroine named Sunny and the title Shine Shine Shine creates an automatic impression of good cheer,” said Janet Maslin in The New York Times. Yet Lydia Netzer’s debut is “tougher and more offbeat” than mere feel-good fare. At its heart is an oddball love story involving Sunny—born in Burma, congenitally bald, now raising a family in an American suburb—and Maxon, a Nobel-winning roboticist who leaves his growing family for a trip to the moon to establish a robot colony. And that’s just scratching the surface. This is a book that “gives chick lit a metaphysical spin.” Things get even quirkier when a meteor strikes Maxon’s spaceship and his marriage to Sunny threatens to fly apart, said Jay Strafford in the Richmond, Va., Times-Dispatch. The key plot points in Shine Shine Shine “might well be dismissed as cheap thrills.” But this is a novel that “aims straight for the humanity that unites us all.” In the process, it “reminds us that normalcy can be vastly overrated.”

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