Heavens-Final-Cover

THE HEAVENS


New York, late summer, 2000. A party in a spacious Manhattan apartment, hosted by a wealthy young activist. Dozens of idealistic twenty-somethings have impassioned conversations over takeout dumplings and champagne. The evening shines with the heady optimism of a progressive new millennium. A young man, Ben, meets a young woman, Kate—and they begin to fall in love.

From their first meeting, Ben knows Kate is unworldly and fanciful, so at first he isn’t that concerned when she tells him about the recurring dream she’s had since childhood. In the dream, she’s transported to the past, where she lives a second life as Emilia,

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New York, late summer, 2000. A party in a spacious Manhattan apartment, hosted by a wealthy young activist. Dozens of idealistic twenty-somethings have impassioned conversations over takeout dumplings and champagne. The evening shines with the heady optimism of a progressive new millennium. A young man, Ben, meets a young woman, Kate—and they begin to fall in love.

From their first meeting, Ben knows Kate is unworldly and fanciful, so at first he isn’t that concerned when she tells him about the recurring dream she’s had since childhood. In the dream, she’s transported to the past, where she lives a second life as Emilia, the mistress of a nobleman in Elizabethan England.

But for Kate, the dream becomes increasingly real and compelling until it threatens to overwhelm her life. And soon she’s waking from it to find the world changed—pictures on her wall she doesn’t recognize, new buildings in the neighborhood that have sprung up overnight. As she tries to make sense of what’s happening, Ben worries the woman he’s fallen in love with is losing her grip on reality.

Transporting the reader between a richly detailed past and a frighteningly possible future, The Heavens is a powerful reminder of the consequences of our actions, a poignant testament to how the people we love are destined to change, and a masterful exploration of the power of dreams.

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  • Grove Atlantic
  • Hardcover
  • February 2019
  • 272 Pages
  • 978-0-8021-2902-4

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$26.00

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About Sandra Newman

sandra-newman-c-george-baier-colorSandra Newman is the author of the novels The Only Good Thing Anyone Has Ever Done, shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award, Cake, and The Country of Ice Cream Star, longlisted for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction and named one of the best books of the year by the Washington Post and NPR. She is the author of the memoir Changeling as well as several other nonfiction books. Her work has appeared in Harper’s and Granta, among other publications. She lives in New York City.

Praise

Named a Most Anticipated Book of 2019 by the Guardian, the Huffington Post, the Millions, and the San Gabriel Valley Tribune

“Newman is known for her bold imagination, and this kaleidoscopic novel is no exception. Like an apocalyptically tinged version of The Time Traveler’s Wife, Kate and Ben’s love story encompasses difficult questions: What is mental illness? Can art, or love, have power? Is humanity doomed? And if it is, then how do we create a life with meaning? . . . Newman’s sentences, like the embroidery Kate practices, pull the story along with their intricate beauty. A complex, unmissable work from a writer who deserves wide acclaim.”Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Newman neatly manages the uneasy feat of pulling off a historical novel featuring both William Shakespeare and Alexander the Great, foreshadowing the action with philosophical musings on the butterfly effect and the Great Man theory of history. A thought-provoking, head-spinning fever dream of a novel; highly recommended.”Library Journal (starred review)

“In this tender love story, Newman ponders the impact of individual action on the world as she creates alternative universes, realities, even endings . . . Provocative.”Booklist

“I was bewitched by the ambition and charge of Sandra Newman’s time-slip narrative, which is at once troubling and beautiful, emotionally resonant and fantastically strange.”—Olivia Laing, author of Crudo

“What a wonderful, strange, terrifying, brilliant novel this is.”—Kamila Shamsie, author of Home Fire

“Reading Sandra Newman’s The Heavens is like falling up a brilliant flight of stairs. Inventive and moving and surprising on every level, it’s a novel that doesn’t just play with time and history and certainty: it turns those things inside out. I’ve been haunted by its characters and ideas ever since I reluctantly finished it.”—Elizabeth McCracken, author of Thunderstruck & Other Stories and Bowlaway

“An elegant and untamed novel that illuminates the soft edges between love, madness, idealism, and the narrative power of the unconscious mind.”—Catherine Lacey, author of The Answers and Certain American States

Excerpt

Ben met Kate at a rich girl’s party.

He didn’t know the rich girl personally; it was one of those parties where no one knew the hostess. He’d come with the rich girl’s cousin’s co-worker, whom he instantly lost in the crowd. It had started out as a dinner party, but the invitations proliferated, spreading epidemically through friends of friends until it turned into a hundred people. So the rich girl opened up both floors, made punch instead of risotto, and ordered a thousand dumplings from a Chinese restaurant. It was August and you had to let things happen the way they wanted to happen. Everyone was in their twenties then, anyway, so that was how they thought.

It turned out to be a mostly francophone party, conversational and quiet; a party with the windows open to the night, a party where people sat talking on the floor. Most of the illumination was from solar-powered tea lights, which the rich girl had hung on the fire escapes all day to charge, then pasted along the walls. That light reflected softly from the heavy glass tumblers into which wine was poured. There wasn’t even music playing. The rich girl said it gave her bad dreams. New York City, so everyone was interning at a Condé Nast publication or a television program or the UN. Everyone a little in love with each other; the year 2000 in the affluent West.