Sequoia Nagamatsu’s Dystopian Debut Is a Must-Read for the New Year

January 4, 2022

At The Rumpus, Sequioa Nagamatsu discusses How High We Go in the Dark, his much-awaited debut novel told through interconnected first-person narratives about people living in a future beset by the Arctic Plague. Nagamatsu discusses the various media and books that were influential to his conception of the book, what eco-conscious novels can contribute to the environmental movement, and how he went about choosing the particular professions of the characters featured in this prophetic novel. “In thinking about how the world in my novel has been unhinged, I wanted to explore how society’s relationship with death, grief, and climate evolve while still staying close to the everyday movements and concerns of a person trying to hold onto life and move forward,” he says. “The professions I chose nodded at these societal evolutions while also giving me a rich basis for considering how their jobs would elevate or influence personal struggles. And for many of my characters, the pandemic simply highlighted or fast-tracked an existing problem or inner anxiety.”

is an assistant editor at The Millions. She is a graduate of the Inkluded Academy 2021, a summer publishing course for graduates from BIPOC communities, and works as a freelance writer and uploading specialist.