Alyson's debut novel, God is an Astronaut, is set in the immediate future of civilian space tourism. Tautly plotted, it unfolds through the emails of one woman whose marriage is crumbling beneath her...
The day of the accident, Jess is in the backyard with a chainsaw, clearing space to build the greenhouse she's always wanted. And, as always, she is thinking of Arthur. Arthur, her colleague in the botany department, who never believed she'd actually start the project. Arthur, who has cut off contact, escaping to the subarctic to study the pines. But now there has been a disaster, connected to Jess's husband's space tourism business: the explosion of a shuttle filled with commercial passengers, igniting a media frenzy on her family's doorstep. Jess's engineer husband is implicated, and she knows there is information he's withholding from her, even as the cameras turn to her for answers. Struggling, Jess writes to the only person she can be candid with. She writes to Arthur. And in her emails, freighted with longing, regret, and the old habits of seduction, she tries to untangle how her life has changed in one instant, but also slowly, and how it might change still. Unfolding through Jess's emails to Arthur, written in glimmering prose, this extraordinary debut is a dazzling modern-day love story.
God is an Astronaut can be purchased from your local independent book seller, as well as Powell's, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon.
"From the first page, I was drawn in by this gripping and winning novel. The writing is fresh, vivid, and funny, beautifully capturing the mysteries of both the cosmos and our daily lives."
Praise for God is an Astronaut
"Alyson Foster’s writing is smart and razor-sharp and shows a keen eye for people and current culture. God Is an Astronaut provides an entertaining look at one flawed woman’s attempt to find solid footing on a rapidly spinning world."
~San Francisco Book Review
"In this smart novel ... Foster brings to life Jess Frobisher, a perfectly flawed protagonist whose sharp wit is as natural as her green thumb."
~Minneapolis Star-Tribune ("5 Summer Novels You Must Read")
"Jess remains compelling, crafted by Foster with wit and sympathy. Foster litters the book with curious details, and told in Jess’ voice, they can swing from funny to beautiful....It’s in moments like these that this email thread of a novel finds its energy. Look for them, linger on them, and despite the silence in reply, Foster’s conversation will be worth a listen."
~Washington City Paper
"Foster's description of things most of us will never see or experience seem authentic and convincing. An active imagination is clearly at work here, and contributes to an excellent first novel."
~New Zealand Herald
“God is an Astronaut” offers a look at the necessities of truth and the consequences of secrets; the impact of honesty is writ both large and small. While it has its flaws, the book’s strong narrative voice and thoughtful core override them. Consider this a green light - you are go for launch.
~The Maine Edge
God is an Astronaut, a light read, is well-written and engaging. Author Alyson Foster captures that period of disintegration in a marriage when both partners are aware that the relationship is pathological, but neither chooses to acknowledge the problems. Yet."
~Swiftly Tilting Planet
"God is an Astronaut and the characters within it are searingly modern. Foster’s writing is sharp and she’s kept the external dialogue of the characters involved realistically spare."
~Booklover Book Reviews
"A witty and original novel, rich in pithy insights, gloriously spot-on with regard to the yearning middle-aged heart stalwartly beating amid the complexities family life."
~Barbara Trapido, author of Brother of the More Famous Jack
"Alyson Foster's debut novel is a puzzle book told in the language of botany, astronomy, family, friendship, and love. A remarkable and haunting monologue-in-pieces handled with such mastery that Jess Frobisher's one-sided correspondence ultimately becomes an unbroken dialogue with the reader."
~Christian Kiefer, author of The Infinite Tides
"...the propulsive prose offers a fine portrait of a woman in distress but not going under."
~Library Journal ("Top Indie Fiction for Spring/Summer")
"A provocative debut [that speculates] on what the future may bring."
~O, The Oprah Magazine ("10 Books You Must Pick Up This August")
"Foster’s debut novel is engaging and digestible and, best of all, filled with hope."
~Chatelaine: ("4 Must-Read Books for Fall")
“Intriguing material… the plot is smart and raises sharp questions about the dubious ethics of extreme tourism.”
"Foster's fine debut takes old-school letter-writing and the epistolary novel to the next level."
"Foster expertly builds suspense... [Her] absorbing character study couched in a very contemporary cautionary tale is likely to find many fans."
“Opens in a shocking manner and unfolds into a painful yet comic tale about the mysteries of the cosmos—and our daily lives.”
~Marie Claire UK ("A 'Must Read' Pick")
"Altogether, it was a unique experience to read this debut novel; thought-provoking, challenging and ultimately rewarding."
~Otago Daily Times
This updated version of the "epistolary" novel unfolds via Jess’ emails to her former lover, freighted with longing, regret, and the old habits of seduction. And though the reader never hears from Arthur, Jess certainly does. And Foster paints a vivid relationship via provocative email subject lines and references to unseen correspondence passing between them.
"God is an Astronaut is a novel of this very moment: the uncertainty of our place in the universe, the difficulty and opportunity of instant communication, our oscillation between fighting with and falling in love with technology. But it is also a novel of every moment: Lust, regret, tragic arrogance, redeeming love—these have always been part of our humanity. Alyson Foster is a brave writer, one I admire greatly for the intensity of her vision and her willingness to step into telling the difficult story of right now."
~Lydia Netzer, author of Shine Shine Shine and How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky
"Alyson Foster's God is an Astronaut is a page-turner. I was captivated by both Jess's predicament and Foster's masterful writing."
~Daphne Kalotay, author of Russian Winter and Sight Reading
"What do you call a novel that takes place entirely through emails? Is 'epistolary' accurate in this case? Whatever the term might be for Alyson Foster's debut, God Is An Astronaut, the result is an affecting journey through a family's downward spiral..."
~Washingtonian ("Top 10 Books for July 2014")
"There is a lot of excitement around Alyson Foster’s debut novel God is an Astronaut and for good reason.... As space tourism hovers on the not too distant horizon, this is a revelatory exploration of what it could mean as well as a snapshot of the crazy truths of being a modern woman. Alyson Foster is Nora Ephron spliced with Margaret Atwood."
“This novel is comprised entirely of emails from the heroine, Jessica, to her ex-lover, Arthur. Having to read between the lines and piece together Arthur's replies using just your imagination makes this an incredibly powerful modern love story.”
"The real pull of this book lies in Jess' personality and emotional history, for it is an epistolary novel, consisting entirely of her hyper-articulate, sometimes distraught and often very funny emails to a colleague and old lover called Arthur. As the book progresses, more and more comes to light..."
~Sydney Morning Herald
"[The protagonist] gives readers an uninterrupted, unedited, and often hilarious account of the events unfolding around her while slowly revealing the secrets that bind her to her colleague and push her away from her family.... Foster uses [her] honest voice to make the story feel genuine and relateable."
~River City Reading
"The novel’s lyrical meditations on our responsibilities in the world — to our spouses, children, family, friends, colleagues, customers, the earth itself — are quite lovely."
~Rosemary and Reading Glasses
"It’s an engaging read, set just far enough into the future that space tourism is a reality, but also very grounded in our everyday normality. Jess writes her way through a dramatic midlife crisis, and makes her way through to the other side, taking readers along for the ride. Readers who enjoy getting to know their characters well will want to pick up this book."
"God is an Astronaut is a captivating, ingeniously plotted book that explores the unknowability of others in a wholly new way. Through the novel's emails, the characters are revealed with wonderful complexity, and surprise us again and again."
~Karen E. Bender, author of A Town of Empty Rooms and Like Normal People