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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4 stars (2 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 …

5 editions

How High We Go in the Dark

4 stars

A series of bleak, gritty glimpses of what's in store for us over the next few decades.

The tone is lightened a bit here and there with injections of optimism, but I think it works against itself a little when the optimism feels unwarranted.

The way that the characters from the different stories are linked reminds me a bit of Cloud Atlas (although I only saw the movie (sorry)).


triggers: pandemic, death, grieving, combinatorially

4 stars

Captures this stretched moment of trauma and grief in a series of chained short stories along a future plague's long trajectory. While every one of these is raw and centers horrific loss, ending, and predictable yet abrupt disconnections in the family and social fabric, somehow they are also beautifully sweet, often funny, and all too recognizable without polemicizing any of our current specific polarizations.


  • Fiction
  • Dystopian