Keith Corcoran has spent his entire life preparing to be an astronaut. At the moment of his greatness, finally aboard the International Space Station, hundreds of miles above the Earth’s swirling blue surface, he receives word that his 16-year-old daughter has died in a car accident, and that his wife has left him. Returning to Earth, and to his now empty suburban home, he is alone with the ghosts, the memories, and feelings he can barely acknowledge, let alone process. He is a mathematical genius, a brilliant engineer, a famous astronaut, but nothing in his life has readied him for this.
With its endless interlocking culs-de-sac, big box stores, and vast parking lots, contemporary suburbia is not a promising place to recover from such trauma. But healing begins through new relationships, never Keith’s strength, first as a torrid affair with one neighbor, and then as an unlikely friendship with another, a Ukrainian immigrant who every evening lugs his battered telescope to the weed-choked vacant lot at the end of the street. Gazing up at the heavens together, drinking beer and smoking pot, the two men share their vastly different experiences and slowly reveal themselves to each other, until Keith can begin to confront his loss and begin to forgive himself for decades of only half-living.
The Infinite Tides is a deeply moving, tragicomic, and ultimately redemptive story of love, loss, and resilience. It is also an indelible and nuanced portrait of modern American life that renders both our strengths and weaknesses with great and tender beauty.