In the dual narratives of Swyler’s poignant latest (after The Book of Speculation), a small Florida town falls into a sinkhole in time, and the occupants of a spacecraft preparing a planet for colonization race to fix their life support system. In 1986, 12-year-old Nedda Papas dreams of joining the ranks of the female astronauts she idolizes. Nedda worships her father, an ex-NASA physicist, and resents the domesticity of her mother, a baker with hidden scientific depths of her own. She’s unaware of her parents’ grief over the death of her infant brother. It is this grief that leads Nedda’s father to experiment with a machine that can slow down time, hoping to extend Nedda’s childhood—experiments that go horribly awry. Decades later, Nedda is part of the small, intimately bonded crew of the Chawla as they face down their final days in service of generations to come. Swyler’s beautiful story, told in eloquent prose, induces shivers of wonder. This meditation on time, loss, and the depth of human connection is both melancholy and astonishing.