How High We Go in the Dark

How High We Go in the Dark

3.88 (20,631 ratings by Goodreads)
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3.88 (20,631 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

SHORTLISTED FOR THE WATERSTONES DEBUT FICTION PRIZE 2022
FINALIST FOR THE BARNES & NOBLE DISCOVER PRIZE 2022
FINALIST FOR THE URSULA LE GUIN PRIZE FOR FICTION 2022
WATERSTONES AND ESQUIRE BEST BOOKS OF 2022

For fans of Cloud Atlas and Station Eleven, Sequoia Nagamatsu's debut is a wildly imaginative, genre-bending work spanning generations across the globe as humanity struggles to rebuild itself in the aftermath of a climate plague.

'Haunting and luminous ... An astonishing debut' - Alan Moore, creator of Watchmen and V for Vendetta

'A powerfully moving and thought provoking read. At times sublime, strange and deeply human' Adrian Tchaikovsky, bestselling author of the Children of Time series

Dr. Cliff Miyashiro arrives in the Arctic Circle to continue his recently deceased daughter's research, only to discover a virus, newly unearthed from melting permafrost. The plague unleashed reshapes life on earth for generations. Yet even while struggling to counter this destructive force, humanity stubbornly persists in myriad moving and ever inventive ways.

Among those adjusting to this new normal are an aspiring comedian, employed by a theme park designed for terminally ill children, who falls in love with a mother trying desperately to keep her son alive; a scientist who, having failed to save his own son from the plague, gets a second chance at fatherhood when one of his test subjects-a pig-develops human speech; a man who, after recovering from his own coma, plans a block party for his neighbours who have also woken up to find that they alone have survived their families; and a widowed painter and her teenaged granddaughter who must set off on cosmic quest to locate a new home planet.

From funerary skyscrapers to hotels for the dead, How High We Go in the Dark follows a cast of intricately linked characters spanning hundreds of years as humanity endeavours to restore the delicate balance of the world. This is a story of unshakable hope that crosses literary lines to give us a world rebuilding itself through an endless capacity for love, resilience and reinvention.

Wonderful and disquieting, dreamlike and all too possible. [How High We Go in the Dark] reaches far beyond our stars while its heart remains rooted to Earth, and reminds us that our wellbeing depends on the wellbeing of our world - Samantha Shannon, author of The Priory of the Orange Tree
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Product details

  • Hardback | 304 pages
  • 153 x 234 x 32mm | 592g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1526637189
  • 9781526637185
  • 318,845

Review quote

Haunting and luminous, How High We Go in the Dark orchestrates its multitude of memorable voices into beautiful and lucid Science Fiction that resembles a fitful future memory of our present. An astonishing debut * Alan Moore, creator of Watchmen and V for Vendetta * Imaginative and fascinating ... On a sentence level, the writing in this book is simply beautiful ... An immersive, hypnotic read * Roxane Gay * A powerfully moving and thought provoking read. At times sublime, strange and deeply human * Adrian Tchaikovsky, bestselling and award-winning author of the Children of Time series * As ambitious as it is intimate, How High We Go in the Dark is both a prescient warning and a promise of human resilience in the face of any odds. Sequoia Nagamatsu masterfully connects each slice of life into one epic and unforgettable tale, spanning centuries and generations. His debut envisions a future that is at once wonderful and disquieting, dreamlike and all too possible. It reaches far beyond our stars while its heart remains rooted to Earth, and reminds us that our wellbeing depends on the wellbeing of our world. -- Samantha Shannon Like a Polaroid photograph, How High We Go in the Dark takes time to show its true colours. When they finally appear, the effect is all the more dazzling ... His novel, with its emphasis on family, mutual acceptance and the often unorthodox ways in which we are all connected, will be admired as much by fans of Becky Chambers's hugely popular Wayfarers series as by readers of Richard Powers's Booker-shortlisted Bewilderment. It is a truly genre-transcending work in which sense of wonder and literary acumen are given boundless opportunity to shine * Guardian * Moving and thought-provoking... A welcome addition to a growing trend of what we might call the 'speculative epic': genre-bending novels that use a wide aperture to tackle large issues like climate change while jumping between characters, timelines and even narrative modes... Nagamatsu squarely hits both the 'literary' and 'science fiction' targets, offering psychological insights in lyrical prose while seriously exploring speculative conceits... How High We Go in the Dark is a book of sorrow for the destruction we're bringing on ourselves. Yet the novel reminds us there's still hope in human connections, despite our sadness * New York Times * A refractive glass exploring themes of loss, mourning and recovery through an impressive variety of characters, moods and situations ...The elegiac opening story is about a man mourning his grown-up daughter as he studies a 30,000-year-old corpse ... Nagamatsu's footwork is impressive as he skips from trope to trope, and epoch to futuristic epoch * The Times * A novel that is both grimly timely while also moving past our usual notions of time to reveal a wider view- Sequoia Nagamatsu allows his story to unspool with such a great sense of scope, freedom, and clarity, creating a stunning mosaic of experience and humanness * Aimee Bender, author of The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake * Sequoia Nagamatsu's How High We Go in the Dark is a sprawling, epic debut that ventures from the Arctic to interstellar space, from life to what may come after it. With precision and harrowing prescience, Nagamatsu envisions the effects - both cultural and planetary - of a mysterious, devastating pandemic; but he explores, too, the astonishing commitment, resilience, and capacity for resilience that enables life - human and otherwise - to reach for survival. Sequoia Nagamatsu is a writer whose imagination is matched only by his compassion, the kind we need to light our way through the dark * Chloe Benjamin, New York Times bestselling author of The Immortalists * How High We Go in the Dark is wondrous not just in the feats of imagination, which are so numerous that it makes me dizzy to recall them, but also in the humanity and tenderness with which Sequoia Nagamatsu helps us navigate this landscape, to find a way to survive while holding onto the things that make us human. This is a truly amazing book, one to keep close as we imagine the uncertain future * Kevin Wilson, New York Times bestselling author of Nothing to See Here * One of the best novels I've read recently ... Reimagines this world and the next to come * Alexander Chee * Wildly imaginative, pandemic prescient ... Nagamatsu depicts his homeland's reaction to a deadly virus with a droll eye ... a terrifyingly original novel * Independent.co.uk, Books of the Month * A prescient warning of an all-too-plausible future and a spellbinding mosaic of characters who stand as a testament to human inventiveness in the face of catastrophe, Nagamatsu's ambitious, haunting debut announces the arrival of an astonishing new voice in science fiction * Waterstones, Books to Read in 2022 * With How High We Go in the Dark, Sequoia Nagamatsu has done the impossible: written a book expansive enough to tackle the enormity of our climate crisis-and then gone further, to capture our even larger capacity for creation. It is clear from this book that Nagamatsu possesses one of literature's most vibrant and generous imaginations. You will fall in love with these characters and, in so doing, remember your love for the world. How High We Go in the Dark rejects the idea of the novel as the story of an individual and bravely takes on the collective nature both of global warming and of how we can face it. * Matthew Salesses, author of The Hundred Year Flood * Gorgeous, terrifying, compassionate. With funerary skyscrapers, a generation ship painted with history, and a pyramid of souls reaching for light, How High We Go in the Dark is both powerful and original. Nagamastu elegantly dissects disaster with an eye toward empathy and curiosity. At this book's center is a great big beautiful heart. An exceptional accomplishment that left me equal parts hope and wonder * Erika Swyler, author of Light From Other Stars and The Book of Speculation * A book of incredible scope and ambition, a polyphonic elegy for the possible, for all that might be won and lost in the many worlds we make together: the world of our families, our civilization and our planet, the planets beyond. Sequoia Nagamatsu's debut generates fresh wonder at all we are, plus hope for all we might become, in these unforgettable futures yet to be * Matt Bell, author of Appleseed * Like an ice core carved from the frozen depths of an ancient sea, this is a novel that captures the drama across eons, containing the glittering secrets of some future history. An astonishing vision of the end of the Anthropocene * Matthew Baker, author of Why Visit America * You can try to compare Sequoia Nagamatsu to George Saunders or Charlie Kaufman or David Mitchell, but his is a singular voice and this is a book so original and wondrous and reality-shredding that it defies easy summary or categorization, like a dream that feels more vivid than life. It's brave and prescient, completely bananas and yet absolutely moving, packed with humor and heart. I loved it * Benjamin Percy, author of Ninth Metal, Red Moon, and Thrill Me, and writer of X-Force and Wolverine for Marvel Comics * How High We Go in the Dark is not a plague novel; it is an after plague novel. Sequoia Nagamatsu nimbly bounds through time, space, and species while tackling the question, Where do we go from here? My favorite kind of speculative fiction-philosophical and hopeful; endlessly inventive, with a beating heart * Gabrielle Zevin, New York Times bestselling author of The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry * Both epic and deeply intimate, Nagamatsu's debut novel is science fiction at its finest, rendered in gorgeous, evocative prose and offering hope in the face of tragedy through human connection. * Booklist, starred review * Exactly the white-hot missive of hope, humanity, and compassion you need ... Each story is a marvel of imagination... Rich in scope and vision, with each nested story masterfully rippling across others, this is a visionary novel about grief, resilience, and how the human spirit endures * Esquire * Wildly imaginative, pandemic prescient ... A terrifyingly original novel * Independent.co.uk * Spanning countries and centuries, an ambitious speculative debut * Highlights of the Year, Guardian * A brave, thoughtful and sometimes moving novel * SFX * An intergenerational mosaic of loss and love ... Here is imagery unforgettable and awe-inspiring ... Nagamatsu has crafted a dazzling work of ambition, compassion, and imagination that grapples with all these complexities. It offers a whisper of what might matter most, and how high we might go - together - in dark * Lunate * A product of more than 10 years' labor, this novel will ring out sharply in today's pandemic world .... Nagamatsu blends literary and visionary verve in a narrative winning comparison to Cloud Atlas and Station Eleven * Library Journal * A book that is innately, essentially human in a way few writers manage to * Lightspeed * Expansive and breathtaking * Debutiful * Deeply hopeful and cathartic, How High We Go in the Dark challenges preconceptions about speculative and science fiction * Bad Form Review * Nagamatsu conjures a world that is at once unrecognisable and frighteningly close to our own. It's an ambitious and timely piece of speculative fiction that is both harrowing and hopeful * Monocle * Resonant of inventive hybrid novels such as Bewilderment by Richard Powers, Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel and XX by Rian Hughes ... This story ultimately demonstrates how we can each form our own destinies * Lonesomereader.com * Sequoia Nagamatsu is being hailed as one of the most exciting new writers of 2022 * Popshot Quarterly * I loved [How High We Go in the Dark] ... It exists at the intersection of bleak and beautiful, where hope lies. * Hayley Campbell * How High We Go in the Dark is an awe-inspiring, devastating, genre-busting rollercoaster of empathy, tragedy, joy and compassion. This book will break your heart - and mend it, too. I loved it * Kesia Lupo, author of We Are Bound By Stars * Desolate and sad, but also ambitious and lightly insane. Talking pigs, roller coaster euthanasia machines for children, generational trauma. I suspect this will be a book that gets a lot of attention and it should * Jenny Lawson, author of Broken * Imaginative, surprising, fresh and occasionally a little bit bonkers - in a good way * Kate Evans, host of ABC's The Bookshelf * The best novel I've read this year ... I can't recommend it highly enough to people who have an interest in these experimental structures in fiction, and also in interesting, intelligent and fundamentally optimistic speculative fiction * Julian Novitz, ABC The Bookshelf * A celebration of the resilience, imagination and solidarity that will see us through. In other words, it sets the bar very high indeed * Socialist Worker * Both far-reaching and close to home, it's a tale of death, love and persistence * Red Magazine *
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About Sequoia Nagamatsu

Sequoia Nagamatsu is a Japanese-American writer and managing editor of Psychopomp Magazine, an online quarterly dedicated to innovative prose. Originally from Hawaii and the San Francisco Bay Area, he holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Southern Illinois University and a BA in Anthropology from Grinnell College. His work has appeared in such publications as Conjunctions, The Southern Review, ZYZZYVA, Fairy Tale Review, and Tin House. He is the author of the award-winning short story collection Where We Go When All We Were Is Gone and teaches creative writing at St. Olaf College and the Rainier Writing Workshop Low-Residency MFA programme. He currently lives in Minnesota with his wife, cat, and a robot dog named Calvino.
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Rating details

20,631 ratings
3.88 out of 5 stars
5 29% (5,947)
4 40% (8,240)
3 24% (4,850)
2 6% (1,309)
1 1% (285)
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