Cover Image: How High We Go in the Dark

How High We Go in the Dark

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Member Reviews

I’m not sure I can give this book enough praise. It’s by far my favorite thing I’ve read this year, and will linger with me forever. A collection of short stories within the same world, featuring interconnected characters, sometimes thousands of years apart —these touching, riveting sci-fi stories of normal people overcoming peril, brings out the best of what humanity has to offer and puts it on display with pinpoint precision and stunning beauty. Applause all around.
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How High We go in the Dark will astound and captivate listeners with both the depth and urgency of the story and the high production value of the audiobook format, read by a diverse cast.  The story begins in the Arctic Circle with a grief-stricken father following in the footsteps of his adventurous researcher daughter, traverses to a near future, plague-ridden Japan, then launches readers into the farthest reaches of the universe on a mission to flee a dying planet and colonize outer space, and quietly returns into a world of possibility, redemption, stasis and flux. Artfully crafted vignettes trace the evolution and lineage of the human race as children, parents, siblings, lovers, friends, colleagues, doctors, patients, adventurers, scientists, victims, profiteers, and visionaries partake grand voyages, observe the human condition, dream, and explore destiny and life after death. This story is highly relevant in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, but will continue to impact readers after the immediacy of our current situation passes because of the author’s graceful, poignant, and humorous depictions of interconnectedness, curiosity, and continuity. This book can be cataloged as a work of speculative, cautionary fiction that will enthrall readers who enjoy dystopias and technology, and will appeal to fans of epic science fiction. Depictions of robotics, cryo-technology, forensics and future entertainments ring of authenticity and the cast of characters are compelling and well-read.
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How High We Go In The Dark is a harrowing read (especially in the wake of our own pandemic) and, wow, is there a lot of death in it, but it’s also so unexpectedly tender. While fear and loss and destruction sweep the world, we read about characters navigating troubled families, dealing with loss, falling in love, creating art, seeking connection. 

Something I found deeply fascinating about the book was its exploration of all the ways society might change if death on a massive scale became a long-term constant in everyone’s lives, particularly its inevitable entanglement with capitalist enterprise. There’s something inevitably bleak about these ideas (for example the eulogy hotel chains that allow the bereaved to efficiently, and for the right price luxuriously, say farewell to their loved one or the euthanasia theme park aimed at giving doomed children one last wonderful day) but what stops the book tumbling into abstract dystopia or a grueling grim-fest is the way each story unerringly finds its human center. It’s a frankly incredible accomplishment in terms of narrative precision, thematic control and sharp, economical character work.

How High We Go In The Dark is an intense and powerful read that finds beauty amidst horror, compassion amongst destruction, hope in the depths of despair, and humanity, always, in everything. I kind of felt like I was getting my heart turned inside out for much of the experience but this book left me dazzled and moved, and perhaps even a little bit changed.

Deeply grateful to netgalley and the publisher for a copy of the audio-arc in exchange for my review.
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Ahhhh-mazing! I loved everything about this audiobook: the narrators, the intertwined storylines, the way it all circled back at the end. I don't think I've ever read anything quite like this.
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I read this book before I listened to the audio version, and I have to say I enjoyed reading the book more than listening to it. That's not to diminish the wonderful cast of narrators who do a magnificent job of reading the story, it's just that this book was so intensely personal, so real to me, that I had already given the characters voices in my imagination. This is such an extraordinary book, I think it will resonate with both readers and listeners
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How High We Go in the Dark completely lives up to the hype and the audiobook adaptation is excellent. An obvious first purchase for general fiction collections.
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I was excited for this read given its comparison to Emily St John Mandel's Station Eleven, a favourite of mine, but found the subject matter to be extremely disturbing and not what was anticipated.

The narration was done very well, and the writing style was enjoyable.
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Appreciated the ambition concept and scope of this novel. Unfortunately found the focus on attempting to personalize every piece to be overwrought. The endless first-person narratives became drone-like for this reader. So much so that it became difficult to enjoy the actual storyline.
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For fans of Station Eleven, Cloud Atlas, Cloud Cuckoo Land, and some of the novels of AS King.  This is a beautiful and terrible look at the way a devastating plague might/will shape our communities and our world, even after the danger has passed.  The possible realities of climate change, too, are represented here.  So many of the events and trends depicted in the book are things I would not have thought of, but do make so much sense - I see how things could turn out this way for us.  

This is my favorite type of science fiction: stories that explore the consequences of something with roots in science, through the lens of daily life.  Events may be happening on a global scale or an individual one, but they are always relayed in a personal way, and I feel what it would be like to be every one of these characters.  When listening, I cried, I felt overwhelmed, I missed the people in my own life, I sat with the characters' pain.  I don't often do that in a book - call me clinical, but I am usually appreciating only the language or the plot, and keep a pretty clear division between myself and the characters.  But this book hit me!  Which is not to say that the language and the plot are not solid, because they are.  But there is an impressive emotional depth that I think will resonate with most people, and which I think will shelve this book among my favorites.

Many thanks to @Netgalley for the advance audio copy, and to the author, Sequoia Nagamatsu, for appearing at Library Journal's Day of Dialogue!  I heard you speak about this title and I clearly downloaded and listened to it right away :)
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This is an unbelievably compassionate book and such a talented piece of work that I can't even describe why. It creates such a mental image in your head with all these interconnected events and time periods that I felt desperate to seek "what ifs" throughout.  It will dive deep into your heart with the centuries of families affected, a lot of death, but yet a lot of love. 

As we are experiencing the 2nd wave of this pandemic, this book clicked with so many correlations. The story begins in 2030, after a plague is unleashed into the world while uncovering a virus infected girl frozen in an ancient burial ground. How clever we are to dive into every virus that ever lived on this earth either by burial or human waste and not think we will refester it.😳

The day to day living through a pandemic is stamped throughout the book with our dilemmas and inconveniences, but yet it doesn't overwhelm you... it needed to drive it home...I mean really drive it home that we could be living with it for centuries. Why are some families affected and some unscathed was the bigger question and how will generations resume after it. 

While listening to the audio, you hear the desperate plea of a mother to keep her terminally ill son comfortable, the End of Life Theme Park where people take their loved ones to an Euthanasia rollercoaster, Galactic homes to carry the survivors to start a new life, VR Cafes, Elegy Hotels to bid final farewells and avatars to recreate our loved ones to converse with.

Please read the other descriptions of this book before you pass it by for another Covid is so much more than that. *Alexis, Wow!!! Your review!!!"
Thank you NetGalley and Harper Audio for this unbelievable ARC in exchange for my review.
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