The Wanderers by Meg Howrey is the story of a private space company preparing to send the first humans to Mars. The first step is to accurately recreate every step of the process but in the desert landscape of Utah. Helen Kane, Yoshi Tanaka, and Sergei Kuznetsov leave their families to spend nearly two years simulating a potential journey to Mars. The astronauts and their families will be tested in strange and unexpected ways.
While the premise is rooted in science fiction, The Wanderers is literary fiction at its best. The cost of the astronauts’ journey weighs heavily on everyone. Howrey artfully highlights this cost through a myriad of lenses, from a teenager dealing with self-revelations to an abandoned daughter struggling to find her own place in the world to a wife who finds her husband’s absence isn’t a negative. Especially captivating is that despite the ordeal of the simulation, everyone knows the intrepid explorers would leave tomorrow if they could. The Wanderers is at times exhilarating and heart-breaking, but it’s ultimately an examination of human nature in terms both of self-discovery and of the drive to explore and discover what is on the horizon.
G.P. Putnam's Sons