How High We Go in the Dark

Paperback, 304 pages

en-Latn-US language

Published Jan. 18, 2022 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC.


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5 stars (2 reviews)

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 …

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 …


  • American literature