How High We Go in the Dark Review

How High We Go in the Dark by Sequoia Nagamatsu is a tragic novel that weaves many stories and characters together through time. The bleak setting leaves the world in a somewhat dystopian state and it doesn’t help that the majority of the stories throughout each chapter are just as depressing as the previous one before it. This is one of the more sad novels I’ve read in a long while so if you’re not in the mood for something depressing, I’d consider putting it off for now.

Somewhere out there near a star we’ve never seen is where we’re really meant to be.

Each chapter or story deals with how certain people cope in a world where a strange disease is killing children by somehow alternating and transforming their internal organs into believing and behaving like a different one. Somehow it gets transferred into adults with no cure in sight. The why and how regarding the disease isn’t really the focus here. Rather, the focus is on how the people are getting by with their lives and coexisting with this disease. With so many deaths along with climate change, the world is quite transformed as each chapter and story progresses.

“We can’t expect them to care about the world if they don’t care about what’s in front of them.”


I really enjoyed a lot of the stories being told. Some of them are weird yet somehow comforting in a very sad way. Knowing that there’s absolutely nothing you can do to change the outcome of something is a reminder that our life can seem so small and insignificant. Time is the one thing that binds the stories together and what I love about it is that the author doesn’t go out of his way to remind you of it. For example, a couple of sentences is all you’ll likely get and if you weren’t paying attention or have forgotten the details of the earlier stories, you’ll have missed it. I’ve also enjoyed reading the ending. It came together quite nicely and reminded us once again of how our lives seem so insignificant and minuscule when compared to time. However, what makes us human is the will to just continue on and do what needs to be done.

“You only get one goodbye.”


Two of my favorite stories involve the chapter with the pig and the ending chapter. How High We Go in the Dark is a light science fiction novel I can definitely recommend if you’re looking for something on the more depressing side of things. I don’t think it’s something you’ll actually cry over though as the author provides just enough of a spark so that we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.


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