Bloomsbury editor-in-chief Paul Baggaley has acquired an "extraordinarily prescient" debut novel by Sequoia Nagamatsu, How High We Go in the Dark.
Baggaley won UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, from Margaret Halton at PEW Literary, on behalf of Annie Hwang at Ayesha Pande Literary Agency. William Morrow’s Jessica Williams pre-empted North American rights.
Baggaley said: "I was captivated by this extraordinary prescient novel, feeling the same sense of excitement that I felt when I first read Emily St John Mandel’s Station Eleven. Sequoia has the rare talent of writing the most imaginative and original speculative fiction whilst bringing deep humanity and sympathy for the characters coping with a world in crisis."
The book explores "humanity’s struggle to rebuild itself in the aftermath of a climate plague, spanning hundreds of years and a wide array of locales, from funerary skyscrapers to hotels for the dead to interstellar starships, and following a cast of intricately linked characters."
Nagamatsu is a Japanese-American writer based in Minnesota. An assistant professor at St Olaf College, he is also the managing editor of Psychopomp Magazine. His work has appeared in publications including Conjunctions, the Southern Review, Iowa Review, Black Warrior Review, Lightspeed Magazine, and One World: A Global Anthology of Short Stories. He is the author of the award-winning story collection Where We Go When All We Were Is Gone (Black Lawrence Press).
The author said: "I look forward to working with Bloomsbury to share a story that transcends our current moment through the lens of Japanese and Japanese American families and with the scope of the cosmos. After nearly a decade of working on this book, it was surreal to be talking to publishers during a time that seemed to mirror the backdrop of my novel, but I was thrilled that Paul and the rest of the team understood this wasn’t just about a pandemic, but about resiliency and the connective threads that tie us to memory across generations. I hope readers discover new ways to remember, heal, and come together in these pages."
How High We Go in the Dark will be published in 2022.