How High We Go in the Dark

A Novel

Hardcover, 304 pages

English language

Published Jan. 18, 2022 by William Morrow.

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5 stars (3 reviews)

Beginning 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 …

7 editions

A hard but beautiful read

5 stars

If I had known ahead of time what the structure and focus of this book was, I probably wouldn't have read it. That would have been my loss.

"How High We Go In the Dark" is a series of interconnected short stories set in the same world. This is not my favorite structural style: I prefer to follow a set of characters from beginning to end. Nagamatsu, though, has a rare talent for sketching out characters you can quickly attach to. I felt sorrowful every time I reached the end of a chapter and had to say goodbye.

In this way, the structure was a good fit for the world itself, and the story the author wanted to tell: one focused on death, loss, and how it transforms us. With some frequency, leaving a character at the end of their chapter meant watching them die.

This is one the most …

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  • Fiction
  • Dystopian