Christian Kiefer – The Infinite Tides

Keith Corcoran has spent his entire life preparing to be an astronaut. NASA sends him up to the International Space Station to install and operate a new robot arm. Wow, sailing tens of meter from the Destiny Module, only his pressure suit to protect him from empty space. Stars above, Earth below. A boyhood’s dream come true. Tragedy hits: his daughter Quinn has died in a car accident and Keith cannot do anything but wait. Houston compiles a funeral DVD with speeches and the rituals, but his fatherhood fails. When it comes out, that Keith’s wife also has left their failing marriage, hell breaks loose. Back on earth Keith is alone, with memories and emotions he cannot bare alone.

What will become of him, a brilliant mathematician, Astronaut? Like infinite tides Keith’s life now consists of interlocking cul-de-sacs, big box stores, enormous parking lots. His empty house is eaten by termites and can hardly be sold. And yes, there’s hope: flirts with neighbour Jennifer, and a Ukranian friend Peter. Living under gravity’s powers is heavy, but we all have to face it everyday. Keith suffers from migraines and will not return to space ever. Even astronauts come back to life on Earth. The two of them hang out drinking beer, smoking weed and peering at distant galaxies through a telescope. A visit to the beach, and experience the tides come and go finish this novel. Both Peter and Keith are not happy in the here and now. But it’s only today that counts.

The Infinite Tides is both a powerful concept, but the continuous repetitions of mini-themes often distracted me. The actual space trip is only a small portion of the book. I’d like to read more on the preparations and relate more to the main characters.

About the author

Christian Kiefer earned his Ph.D. in American literature from the University of California, Davis, and is on the English faculty of American River College in Sacramento. His poetry has appeared in various national journals including the Antioch Review and Santa Monica Review. He is also an accomplished songwriter and recording artist. He lives in the hill country north of Sacramento with his wife and five sons.