The Heavens

Sandra Newman

Published: 2 May 2019
Hardback, Demy HB
138x216mm, 272 pages
ISBN: 9781783784844

Other Editions


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Published: 7 May 2020
Paperback, B Format
129x198mm, 272 pages
ISBN: 9781783784868

Ebook Available

About the author

Image of Sandra Newman

Sandra Newman is the author of three previous 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 Bailey's Prize for Women's Literature). She co-authored the hugely successful How Not to Write a Novel. She has also written The Western Lit Survival Kit, Read This Next, and a memoir, Changeling. She lives in New York. More about the author


‘'I was dazzled by Sandra Newman's The left me hugely envious of her confidence and skill’ Best Books of 2019 (chosen by Melissa Harrison)



‘[A] page-turner

‘[Newman] matches rich, pin-sharp, sometimes dandyish, sometimes economic prose with a wild imagination’ Matt Haig

‘[Sandra Newman is] a writer of immense imagination and talent...quite unlike any other book you'll pick up this year’ ‘Best New Books for May 2019’

[The Heavens] transcends its labels...Newman lays in several solutions to her puzzle without ever privileging one. The line by line writing is masterful - crisp and surprising without ever feeling effortful - but what moved me the most was how suffused with grief the whole book is; a constant, aching undercurrent of sadness about the roads not travelled and the things we lose’

A dizzying portrait of love and time travel... Beautiful

A stunning, literary fairytale

A tour de force of a novel... exceptional... [Newman] writes the most elegantly balanced prose...a formidable achievement... a bravura piece of work... a very good book

Absolutely captivating

Absorbing and clever...deftly executed...A great read

Ambitious... Newman is a hugely versatile writer’

An electrifying novel of love, creativity and madness... playful, tender and heart breaking


Bewitching historical fiction wrapped in a tragic sci-fi love story... [it] will both break and remake your heart

Bewitchingly complex...truly astonishing...capable of eliciting from even the most jaded reader both a kind of startled surprise and an unqualified admirationSarah Perry

Genre-defying... captivating... Millennia ahead of the game... readers will be drawn into this uncanny dream of a story by Newman's genius for summoning feeling’

I love this book and I think of it like a real person... so elegiac and genuinely moving ... by the time I got to the end of it... I wanted to go back and read the beginning... you've got to read this book...unbelievably moving’ Helen Lewis

I tore through The Heavens and loved it. It's unique and brilliant; a house made of trapdoors, where dreams are real and reality a dream. Through this strange labyrinth of 21st century New York and Renaissance England, it is love which deftly, movingly, finds the way’ Adam Foulds, author

Sumptuous, multi-layered...profound, serious... Newman is a clever and sophisticated writer...this haunting, pervasively sad novel hits a particularly vulnerable nerve’

This strikingly original, rich novel contains multitudes

Wonderfully weird...gleaming, frictionless prose’ Elizabeth Lowry

‘A daring piece of counter-historical speculative romance... The surreal comic tone has a lot in common with Elif Batuman, Patrick deWitt and Ottessa Moshfegh... Intriguing

‘A thrilling fable about love, creativity, madness and what it means to save or lose a world’

‘A tour de force of a novel... gloriously bewildering...exceptional

‘A novel unlike any other... magical‘Our Pick of the Best Beach Reads for Every Taste’

‘Astute, mesmeric and quite alarming, The Heavens is absolutely captivating

‘Every one of The Heavens' pages feels like that first shuddering spark of attraction...quick, flirtatious

‘High-concept... This is a dazzling exploration of creativity and madness in the poignant, panic-tinged end timesBest fiction of 2019

‘I was bewitched by the ambition and charge of The Heavens, which is at once troubling and beautiful, emotionally resonant and fantastically strangeOlivia Laing, author of

‘I was bewitched by the ambition and charge of The Heavens, which is at once troubling and beautiful, emotionally resonant and fantastically strangeOlivia Laing

‘Imaginatively audacious, this is a novel whose pyrotechnics are backed by deep emotional truth’ Melissa Harrison, author of

‘It isn't long before this novel transcends such tropes to reach heights of brilliance’

‘Newman [writes with] agility and aplomb’

‘Newman skilfully concocts a dizzying blend of contemporary utopianism, historical romance and time travelling fantasy while posing profound metaphysical philosophical questions’

‘Prepare to be transported’

‘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

‘Really thought-provoking‘The Best Books to Read This May’

‘Richly observed and engaging... [Newman] is a writer of wild imaginings... The Heavens swiftly upends all expectations with its speculative strangeness’

‘So cleverly structured, it bears instant rereading’

‘The best book you've ever read’ Sarah Crossan

‘The Heavens, shifting restlessly between worlds, gently encouraging Elizabethan England into eccentric New York, rolling everything into a dreamy, desperate new reality, is everything we expect from Sandra Newman. It's strange but focused, beautifully written and put together, dangerously benign, comic and clever, bright as a knifeM. John Harrison, author

‘The writing is so sleek and the pace is so nimble, nothing is belaboured... a delightful literary bon bon that really took me away, so transfixingKatie Puckrik

‘Throughout Sandra Newman's new novel, there is an exquisitely calibrated strangeness... expertly tricked out... miraculously skilful...She is simply unerring, deeply read and possessed of a phenomenal ear for diction... immersively real... Like all dramas, it has a resolution, and one of such eye-popping metaphysical grandeur that I couldn't spoil it even if I wanted to’

‘Weird and wonderful . . . a surprising and tender love storyBest books of 2019

‘What a wonderful, strange, terrifying, brilliant novel this is’ Kamila Shamsie

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