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Audiobook Review

How High We Go in the Dark

Sequoia Nagamatsu
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9 hrs and 20 mins


Jason Culp, Stephanie Komure, Micky Shiloah, Joe Knezevich, Brianna Ishibashi, Kotaro Watanabe, Matthew Bridges, Kurt Kanazawa, Greg Watanabe, Jeanne Sakata, MacLeod Andrews, Keisuke Hoashi, Brian Nishii, Julia Whelan

average rating is 5 out of 5
average rating is 5 out of 5

Excellent, Unforgettable, Best of the nest

Very good, thoroughly enjoyed, 

Good, Solid, Enjoyed many aspects


High Praise for this Darkest of Tales


🧡 Haunting, powerful, magical, poetic, all the positive hyperbolic adjectives apply. That’s just the kind of story this is. And it’s not just one story. It reads like an anthology of disparate tales voiced by a variety of characters in varying settings. Even the genre doesn’t stand still, shifting from futuristic and sci fi to supernatural to drama and even humour.

💛 All of these elements are connected by the gossamer thread of existing in the same world - one scarred by a terrible disease. And as the narrative progresses, the thread draws the stories together.

💚 I knew this was a pandemic/post apocalypse story, but as I often do, I went in without any further info. Had I read the blurb, I might have been prepared for the devastating sadness and poignancy of the park for dying children or the absurd but touching story of the talking pig.

💜 There are times when things feel aimless. As though the narrative is floating untethered. It’s also difficult as a listener to adapt to a new character each time. But it’s worth it.


🎧 This is a stunning audiobook. It works incredibly well for the format, not least because it’s obvious the production was so carefully considered. A cast of narrators makes it much easier to transition from one story to the next. What’s more - a small but significant factor - the chapter headings are properly signposted.

🎧 Most of these narrators are new to me. All, in fact, except Julia Whelan, who was a big draw for me in listening to this and did not disappoint. The performances are excellent and drew me in every time.


No spoilers for this one. Maybe next time!
Click For Spoilers

How High We Go in the Dark


For fans of Cloud Atlas and Station Eleven, 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 neighbours 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 endeavours 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.
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