“How High We Go in the Dark” (HarperCollins), 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.
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 neighbors 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 endeavors 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.
Nagamatsu is also the author of the forthcoming “Girl Zero” (William Morrow/Harper Collins and Bloomsbury UK), as well as the story collection “Where We Go When All We Were Is Gone” (Black Lawrence Press).
His work has appeared or is forthcoming in publications such as Conjunctions, The Southern Review, ZYZZYVA, Tin House, Iowa Review, Lightspeed Magazine, and “One World: A Global Anthology of Short Stories,” and has been listed as notable in “Best American Non-Required Reading” and “Best Horror of the Year.”
He was educated at Grinnell College (BA) and Southern Illinois University-Carbondale (MFA), and he teaches creative writing at Saint Olaf College and the Rainier Writing Workshop Low-Residency MFA program. He lives in Minneapolis with his wife, the writer Cole Nagamatsu, their cat Kalahira, their real dog Fenris, and a robot dog named Calvino.
Visit his website: https://www.sequoianagamatsu.com/
“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
“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 well-being depends on the well-being of our world” — Samantha Shannon, author of “The Priory of the Orange Tree”
“Moving and thought-provoking . . . You’ll be impressed with Nagamatsu’s meticulous craft. … Well-honed prose, poignant meditations and unique concepts … 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.” — Lincoln Michel, New York Times Book Review