The Heavens
January 8, 2020 7:44 AM - by Sandra Newman - Subscribe

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. Kate lives with her head in the clouds, so at first Ben isn’t that concerned when she tells him about the recurring dream she’s had...
posted by chavenet (4 comments total)
 
I just finished reading this. I found it hard to put down, a clever twist on two genres -- the quirky millennial love story & time traveling to change the course of history. There is enough ambiguity about Kate's condition (is she just lovably odd, seriously mentally ill, or something else entirely?) to bleed into the love story part. I found some of the Shakespearian-era stuff lightly superficial, but Newman never leaves you in any one place for long, so it never gets tiresome. And the time-travel/great person theory of history reveal is quite deftly done.

Voyage Through an Alternative Reality
[Grauniad review]
A Heroine Who Lives at Once in Elizabethan England and 21st-Century New York [NY Times review]
posted by chavenet at 7:56 AM on January 8


As someone who has vivid dreams, this book affected me greatly. I read it months ago and I think I may have even cried?

That being said, I don't much believe in the great person theory of history, so I felt a bit let down once I realized what was going on.
posted by tofu_crouton at 5:03 PM on January 8 [1 favorite]


I loved the first 3/4 of this, but not sure the ending worked (felt like it kind of spiraled out of control).
posted by sallybrown at 7:11 PM on January 8 [1 favorite]


Picked this one up more or less blind, so I came in expecting a small, carefully observed relationship story, and got something exponentially larger on the inside than it looked on the outside. Since the bigger plotline felt so carefully scaffolded by the more intimate relationship plotline, I found the whole thing fresh and surprisingly coherent. Some of the world details, like the succession of shifting presidents, felt maybe a touch ham-handed, but overall I thought this was delightful.
posted by eponym at 3:49 PM on January 20 [1 favorite]


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