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How High We Go in the Dark
Cover of How High We Go in the Dark
How High We Go in the Dark
A Novel
Borrow Borrow

NATIONAL BESTSELLER

  • NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW EDITORS' CHOICE
  • ROXANE GAY'S AUDACIOUS BOOK CLUB PICK
  • FINALIST FOR THE URSULA K. LE GUIN PRIZE

    "Moving and thought-provoking . . . offering psychological insights in lyrical prose while seriously exploring speculative conceits." — New York Times Book Review

    "Haunting and luminous . . . Beautiful and lucid science fiction. An astonishing debut." — Alan Moore, creator of Watchmen and V for Vendetta

    Recommended by New York Times Book Review

  • Los Angeles Times
  • NPR
  • Washington Post
  • Wall Street Journal
  • Entertainment Weekly
  • Esquire
  • Good Housekeeping
  • NBC News
  • Buzzfeed
  • Goodreads
  • The Millions
  • The Philadelphia Inquirer
  • Minneapolis Star-Tribune
  • San Francisco Chronicle
  • The Guardian
  • and many more!

    For fans of Cloud Atlas and Station Eleven, a spellbinding and profoundly prescient debut that follows a cast of intricately linked characters over hundreds of years as humanity struggles to rebuild itself in the aftermath of a climate plague—a daring and deeply heartfelt work of mind-bending imagination from a singular new voice.

    In 2030, a grieving archeologist arrives in the Arctic Circle to continue the work of his recently deceased daughter at the Batagaika Crater, where researchers are studying long-buried secrets now revealed in melting permafrost, including the perfectly preserved remains of a girl who appears to have died of an ancient virus.

    Once unleashed, the Arctic plague will reshape life on Earth for generations to come, quickly traversing the globe, forcing humanity to devise a myriad of moving and inventive ways to embrace possibility in the face of tragedy. In a theme park designed for terminally ill children, a cynical employee falls in love with a mother desperate to hold on to her infected son. A heartbroken scientist searching for a cure finds a second chance at fatherhood when one of his test subjects—a pig—develops the capacity for human speech. A widowed painter and her teenaged granddaughter embark on a cosmic quest to locate a new home planet.

    From funerary skyscrapers to hotels for the dead to interstellar starships, Sequoia Nagamatsu takes readers on a wildly original and compassionate journey, spanning continents, centuries, and even celestial bodies to tell a story about the resilience of the human spirit, our infinite capacity to dream, and the connective threads that tie us all together in the universe.

    "Wondrous, and not just in the feats of imagination, which are so numerous it makes me dizzy to recall them, but also in the humanity and tenderness with which Sequoia Nagamatsu helps us navigate this landscape. . . . 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

  • NATIONAL BESTSELLER

  • NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW EDITORS' CHOICE
  • ROXANE GAY'S AUDACIOUS BOOK CLUB PICK
  • FINALIST FOR THE URSULA K. LE GUIN PRIZE

    "Moving and thought-provoking . . . offering psychological insights in lyrical prose while seriously exploring speculative conceits." — New York Times Book Review

    "Haunting and luminous . . . Beautiful and lucid science fiction. An astonishing debut." — Alan Moore, creator of Watchmen and V for Vendetta

    Recommended by New York Times Book Review

  • Los Angeles Times
  • NPR
  • Washington Post
  • Wall Street Journal
  • Entertainment Weekly
  • Esquire
  • Good Housekeeping
  • NBC News
  • Buzzfeed
  • Goodreads
  • The Millions
  • The Philadelphia Inquirer
  • Minneapolis Star-Tribune
  • San Francisco Chronicle
  • The Guardian
  • and many more!

    For fans of Cloud Atlas and Station Eleven, a spellbinding and profoundly prescient debut that follows a cast of intricately linked characters over hundreds of years as humanity struggles to rebuild itself in the aftermath of a climate plague—a daring and deeply heartfelt work of mind-bending imagination from a singular new voice.

    In 2030, a grieving archeologist arrives in the Arctic Circle to continue the work of his recently deceased daughter at the Batagaika Crater, where researchers are studying long-buried secrets now revealed in melting permafrost, including the perfectly preserved remains of a girl who appears to have died of an ancient virus.

    Once unleashed, the Arctic plague will reshape life on Earth for generations to come, quickly traversing the globe, forcing humanity to devise a myriad of moving and inventive ways to embrace possibility in the face of tragedy. In a theme park designed for terminally ill children, a cynical employee falls in love with a mother desperate to hold on to her infected son. A heartbroken scientist searching for a cure finds a second chance at fatherhood when one of his test subjects—a pig—develops the capacity for human speech. A widowed painter and her teenaged granddaughter embark on a cosmic quest to locate a new home planet.

    From funerary skyscrapers to hotels for the dead to interstellar starships, Sequoia Nagamatsu takes readers on a wildly original and compassionate journey, spanning continents, centuries, and even celestial bodies to tell a story about the resilience of the human spirit, our infinite capacity to dream, and the connective threads that tie us all together in the universe.

    "Wondrous, and not just in the feats of imagination, which are so numerous it makes me dizzy to recall them, but also in the humanity and tenderness with which Sequoia Nagamatsu helps us navigate this landscape. . . . 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

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    About the Author-
    • 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 program. He currently lives in Minnesota with his wife, cat, and a robot dog named Calvino.

    Reviews-
    • Publisher's Weekly

      October 4, 2021
      Nagamatsu’s ambitious, mournful debut novel-in-stories (after the collection Where We Go When All We Were Is Gone) offers a mosaic portrait of the near future, detailing the genesis and fallout of an ancient alien plague reawakened from a Neanderthal corpse thanks to the melting permafrost in the Siberian tundra. Combining the literary and the science fictional, each subtly interconnected chapter examines a point of failure during the dying days of the great human experiment: in the social safety net, in marriages, in families, and in compassion for non-humanoid life-forms. As the flu-like pandemic intersects with increasing climate change and exposes society’s flaws, the characters bear witness to a massive extinction event happening to them in real time. Nagamatsu can clearly write, but this exploration of global trauma makes for particularly bleak reading: the novel offers no resolutions, or even much hope, just snapshots of grief and loss. (Those with weak stomachs, meanwhile, will want to skip the “Songs of Your Decay” for its graphic descriptions of corpse decomposition.) Readers willing to speculate about a global crisis not too far off from reality will find plenty to think about in this deeply sad but well-rendered vision of an apocalyptic future. Agent: Annie Hwang, Ayesha Pande Literary.

    • AudioFile Magazine A full cast sensitively presents Nagamatsu's somber novel illuminating humanity's trials and triumphs in the face of a world-ending pandemic and its aftermath. In 2030, scientists unearth an ancient alien plague from the melting Siberian permafrost. Initially affecting only children, the plague mutates over the years and introduces a common language of death and mourning across the globe. This audiobook features many Japanese-American narrators, a thoughtful casting decision that listeners will appreciate as the narrators authentically reflect Nagamatsu's characters. With measured solemnity, the cast communicates both the bleakness and weirdness of a world in which euthanasia theme parks exist alongside funerary hotels and super-evolved talking pigs. The chapters are occasionally disjointed, but the narrators' consistent tone and pacing will help listeners quickly find their footing. S.A.H. � AudioFile 2021, Portland, Maine
    • Library Journal

      March 1, 2022

      More than a dozen narratives and narrators braid this ambitious piece of literary speculative fiction together, by turns surreal, mundane, nihilistically bleak, and tentatively hopeful. A prehistoric girl is discovered in the newly melted permafrost. A father mourns the loss of his daughter as he tries to finish her work. An ancient, horrific plague emerges anew. A scientist accidentally creates a black hole in his own brain, opening the way for interstellar space travel and a new chance for humanity among the stars. After being cured, coma patients return with impossible knowledge of current and past events. Suicide pacts and doomsday cults proliferate as people struggle to rebuild their lives. And then things really get weird. VERDICT Although written in clean, no-frills prose, this listen still isn't for the faint of heart. While it is likely to make a splash in awards circles, libraries without a dedicated, hardcore SFF readership can safely treat this title as an optional purchase.--Chelsea Lytal

      Copyright 2022 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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    A Novel
    Sequoia Nagamatsu
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