It is a novel for our time, cementing Palumbo's position as one of the most exciting and original voices in the UK today.
A satire set in a future world, it is a controversial and thought-provoking critique on the short-termism which pervades our society. Palumbo challenges this need for instant gratification, and highlights its devastating global effect on everything from the NHS through to the catastrophic management of Africa.
The book's protagonist, Tancredi, is born on the day that scientists discover a new star called Surprise. This star - which has lain undiscovered for millennia - looks set to explode as a supernova and is destined to bring about Armageddon. Tancredi's parents are killed in a space accident and, struck by the futility of life, he sets out to achieve something truly meaningful. His attempt to save the world takes him to several planets which each represent a different theme, from reality TV to obesity.
However, just as Tancredi is ready to give up on this quest, the supernova explodes and humanity is hit by the realisation that they are all going to die. Faced with their own mortality, humans throughout the world are struck by the short-termism which dominates their own lives. What is the point of chasing money, power and prestige?
A single thought remains why not spend a life that matters?
Published: 29th September 2011
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