Homer's Travels: Book: Sequoia Nagamatsu's "How High We Go In The Dark"

Tuesday, February 07, 2023

Book: Sequoia Nagamatsu's "How High We Go In The Dark"

I found this book on Goodreads.  It was nominated for the best science fiction book of 2022 and came in fourth.  I figured I couldn't go wrong.

Sequoia Nagamatsu's "How High We Go in the Dark" starts with an archeological discovery in the melting permafrost of Siberia.  An ancient pathogen is released.  The following chapters are each independent, but interconnected, stories of how the world deals with the death of children followed shortly by adult deaths after the pathogen mutates.  The early chapters deal with death ... a lot.  At first I wondered if it would all be about death but eventually it started to move away from death.  Some of the chapters really go off the rails going on strange tangents.

Each chapter shares some characters.  A baby in one chapter appears as an adult in a later chapter.  In books like this I expect to find clues in each chapter that all come together in some elegant manner in the last chapter or two.  If done well you will be surprised but will see how everything comes together.  This book was not done correctly.  The last chapter takes a hard turn introducing something that is totally unexpected.  It's like reading a murder mystery and finding out the killer is a character introduced in the last chapter of the book.

I gave this book three stars out of five on Goodreads.  The off the rails chapters and the totally crazy last chapter did not sit well with me.  There was potential here but it was wasted.

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