To the east is the future. To the west is the past. If you were permitted to cross the valley’s border, which direction would you go?
For fans of David Mitchell, Ruth Ozeki, and Kazuo Ishiguro, an exquisite literary speculative novel about an isolated town neighbored by its own past and future.
Sixteen-year-old Odile vies for a coveted seat on the Conseil. If she earns the position, she’ll decide who may cross her town’s heavily guarded borders. On either side, it’s the same valley, the same town. To the east, the town is twenty years ahead in time. To the west, it’s twenty years behind. The towns repeat in an endless sequence across the wilderness.
When Odile recognizes two visitors she wasn’t supposed to see, she realizes that the grieving parents of her friend Edme have been escorted across the border, on a mourning tour, to view their son while he’s still alive in Odile’s present.
Edme––who is brilliant, funny, and the only person to truly know Odile––is about to die. Sworn to secrecy in order to preserve the timeline, Odile now becomes the Conseil’s top candidate. Yet she finds herself drawing closer to the doomed boy, imperiling her entire future.
Praise for The Other Valley
“Stunning ... Howard’s singularly beautiful and wholly original coming-of-age story will capture the minds of his readers. Not only is this novel a quiet meditation on grief and love, but it also finds itself in conversation with larger philosophical debates such as the nature of mortality, fate versus free will, and how far a person will go--and what they're willing to risk--to spend more time with those they love. A thought-provoking exploration of ethics, power, love, and time travel that is perfect for fans of Ishiguro and McEwan.”
—Kirkus (starred review)
“Beautifully written ... it is a triumph.”
—Booklist (starred review)
—Library Journal (starred review)
“Moving, surprising, and heartrending.”
“A lyrical coming-of-age story that probes the question of self-determination ... The premise is strikingly unusual and provocative; the climax, after a long, subtle build, is electrifying. With beautiful prose, a compelling protagonist, and serious fodder for thought, The Other Valley is a remarkable debut.”
“Deeply moving, gorgeously rendered, Scott Alexander Howard’s The Other Valley is a powerful meditation on memory, and grief, and the possibility of real connection, even across time itself. Wonderful.”
—Steven Price, #1 bestselling author and Scotiabank Giller Prize finalist for Lampedusa
“Astonishingly brilliant. My book of the year.”
—Liz Nugent, internationally bestselling author of Strange Sally Diamond
“Part Ishiguro, part Amis, and somehow all its own, The Other Valley marks the debut of a phenomenally talented writer. Pay attention.”
—Sarah Langan, author of Good Neighbors
"A stellar debut, full of heartbreak and hope wrapped up in gorgeous prose.”
—Christina Dalcher, internationally bestselling author of Vox
“The Other Valley is a complex and elegiac exploration of humanity and our relationship with time. Told through tender and thoughtful prose, Scott Alexander Howard's novel leaves you wondering about the choices you've made in your life, and whether you'd do them differently if you had the chance. It is a tale of loss, of hope, and of possibility. It is a book that will stay with you, if not for its questions about fate and consequence, then for its quiet and moving depiction of love and grief. I loved it.”
—Nicholas Binge, author of Ascension
“What a stunning debut! This coming-of-age story is filled to the brim with heart and hope and Howard’s prose is simply breathtaking. The Other Valley is a brilliant take on time travel and a thought-provoking exploration of the boundaries between fate and choice. Make room on your shelves, folks, this book is going to knock your socks off.”
—Sylvain Neuvel, bestselling author of Sleeping Giants
“In The Other Valley, Scott Alexander Howard takes an ingenious conceit and wraps it in a story of teenage love to explore eternal questions about second chances and predestination. Howard’s novel is sensitively written, propulsively plotted, and unforgettable.”
—Kevin Chong, Scotiabank Giller Prize finalist author of The Double Life of Benson Yu
“The Other Valley comprises three novels, all of them equally enthralling. It is a satisfyingly detailed philosophical thought experiment; a moving, intensely poignant love story, and a masterful, slow-burning suspense novel. It lingers in the mind in the best way, and sits comfortably beside Ishiguro, Ted Chiang and Murakami on an ideal bookshelf.”
—Jo Harkin, author of Tell Me an Ending
“A bittersweet tale of first love and coming-of-age, as well as a unique take on the intersection of fate and free will.”
—Nikki Erlick, New York Times bestselling author of The Measure
“A breathtaking meditation on grief and the fluidity of time, told in elegant, precise prose, and which speeds to an audacious ending.”
—Kerry Andrew, author of We Are Together Because
“The Other Valley is as riveting as it is philosophically beautiful. Scott Alexander Howard asks us to imagine how we might live if our older and younger selves weren't lost to us, but waited for us somewhere. While the premise is uniquely speculative, the sensation of being stranded between the ambitious optimism of youth and the clouded uncertainty of the future is gorgeously familiar. Powerful and atmospheric, Howard's novel is one I hope to reread at different stages of my life.”
—Sara Flannery Murphy, author of Girl One and The Wonder State
“Brilliantly conceived. The voice is accomplished and nuanced, and the story is a page-turner with a blistering climax. An astonishing debut.”
—Jan Zwicky, Governor General's Award-winning author of Songs for Relinquishing the Earth
“Thoughtful, touching and beautiful, The Other Valley is an accomplished and exquisitely crafted novel.”
—Adam Hamdy, author of The Other Side of Night
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