The Heavens

Sandra Newman

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



'What a wonderful, strange, terrifying, brilliant novel this is' Kamila Shamsie, author of Home Fire

New York, 2000.

Kate and Ben meet at a party and immediately fall in love. It is the first year of the new millennium, the first year without a war anywhere in the world. The United Nations has just planted its flag on Mars, and a Green Party senator is about to become the first female president of the United States. Kate falls asleep, knowing that she is loved.

London, 1593.

Kate wakes as Emilia - the mistress of a nobleman - and finds the plague at her door. Afflicted by premonitions of a burnt and lifeless city, she sets out to save the world. Each decision she makes will change her life with Ben forever.

A story of love and alternate universes, madness and time travel, The Heavens is a dream bound up in a strange awakening; it is a bewitching novel of what we have lost, and what we might yet be able to save.

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


‘[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’



A stunning, literary fairytale

Absolutely captivating

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


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

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

‘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 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

‘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

‘Newman [writes with] agility and aplomb’

‘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 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’

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

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