There Are Rivers in the Sky: A novel (Hardcover)

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There Are Rivers in the Sky: A novel By Elif Shafak Cover Image

There Are Rivers in the Sky: A novel (Hardcover)


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From the Booker Prize finalist author of The Island of Missing Trees, an enchanting new tale about three characters living along two rivers, all under the shadow of one of the greatest epic poems of all time. "Make place for Elif Shafak on your bookshelf... you won't regret it." (Arundhati Roy)

In the ancient city of Nineveh, on the bank of the River Tigris, King Ashurbanipal of Mesopotamia, erudite but ruthless, built a great library that would crumble with the end of his reign. From its ruins, however, emerged a poem, the Epic of Gilgamesh, that would infuse the existence of two rivers and bind together three lives. 

In 1840 London, Arthur is born beside the stinking, sewage-filled River Thames. With an abusive, alcoholic father and a mentally ill mother, Arthur’s only chance of escaping destitution is his brilliant memory. When his gift earns him a spot as an apprentice at a leading publisher, Arthur’s world opens up far beyond the slums, and one book in particular catches his interest: Nineveh and Its Remains.

In 2014 Turkey, Narin, a ten-year-old Yazidi girl, is diagnosed with a rare disorder that will soon cause her to go deaf. Before that happens, her grandmother is determined to baptize her in a sacred Iraqi temple. But with the rising presence of ISIS and the destruction of the family’s ancestral lands along the Tigris, Narin is running out of time. 

In 2018 London, the newly divorced Zaleekah, a hydrologist, moves into a houseboat on the Thames to escape her husband. Orphaned and raised by her wealthy uncle, Zaleekah had made the decision to take her own life in one month, until a curious book about her homeland changes everything.  

A dazzling feat of storytelling, There Are Rivers in the Sky entwines these outsiders with a single drop of water, a drop which remanifests across the centuries. Both a source of life and harbinger of death, rivers—the Tigris and the Thames—transcend history, transcend fate: “Water remembers. It is humans who forget.”
ELIF SHAFAK is an award-winning British-Turkish author of a dozen novels, including The Island of Missing Trees, shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award, and 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World, shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Her work has been translated into fifty-six languages. She holds a PhD in political science and has taught at universities in Turkey, the U.S. and the UK. She lives in London and is an honorary fellow at Oxford University. 
Product Details ISBN: 9780593801710
ISBN-10: 0593801717
Publisher: Knopf
Publication Date: August 20th, 2024
Pages: 464
Language: English
"A brilliant, unforgettable novel, which raises big ideas of 'who owns the past' with nuance and complexity. Elif Shafak ties together diverse time periods and places in a way that seems both natural and wonderfully unexpected." —Mary Beard, author of SPQR

"An odyssey, an epic, a lament, and a tale of redemption, There Are Rivers in the Sky is a clarion call to honor the elemental forces that shape our memories, our histories, and our world. In short, a masterpiece."—Ruth Ozeki, author of The Book of Form and Emptiness

"From its bravura opening through to its final pages, There Are Rivers in the Sky is a dazzling achievement. Shafak’s imagination is a wonder: bold, capacious, beautiful and wise."—Katie Kitamura, author of Intimacies

"Elif Shafak's beautiful and moving new novel bears the reader along on its marvelous currents. Here, rivers twine with other rivers and lives with other lives across centuries and cultures, as the fate of a single drop of water weaves an intricate tapestry of love and loss."—Robert MacFarlane, author of Underland 

"There Are Rivers in the Sky is an enchanting epic, told through the vantage of single raindrop, where the sacred mysteries of water, science, and poetry collide. In this gorgeous and riverine novel, water is poetry, water is memory. This is a love song to the keepers of our stories and histories, a resounding tribute to the wise women who know the poetry of our rivers. Elif Shafak is one of them—a master storyteller whose prose thrums with such gorgeous details and propulsive spirit, flowing with a keen-eyed wisdom that only she could conjure. I came away feeling restored."—Safiya Sinclair, author of How to Say Babylon

"Intricate, exhilarating storytelling that is a poetic reminder of how connected we are to one another and to the past."—Tracy Chevalier, author of Girl With a Pearl Earring

"Elif Shafak approaches the world with grace, lyricism, and courage. Confronting societies riven by conflicts over gender, religion, sexuality, nationalism, memory, ideology, and more, Shafak wields the novel’s artistic power to cut through complacency and orthodoxy with ruthlessness and beauty. Her words and works—compelling and provocative—leave us in a space of light, a clearing from where we can see this world anew. "—Viet Thanh Nguyen, author of The Sympathizer

"Literature on a grand scale, mythic and timeless." —Nadifa Mohamed, author of The Fortune Men

“A great, sweeping, enthralling novel – Elif Shafak’s narrative vision is as remarkable and astonishing as ever. Wonderful.”—William Boyd, author of Any Human Heart

"Elif Shafak is a unique and powerful voice in world literature." —Ian McEwan, author of Atonement

“Make place for Elif Shafak on your bookshelf. Make place for her in your heart too. You won’t regret it.” —Arundhati Roy, author of The God of Small Things

"A book that is astonishing, ingenious and beautiful. A modern classic. Elif Shafak is one of the great writers of our time."—Peter Frankopan, author of The Earth Transformed

“Walt Whitman said that a blade of grass contains the journey work of stars. William Blake wrote that we can see the world in a grain of sand. Toni Morrison said that we never shape the world, but the world shapes us. And so Shafak finds the world in a drop of water. She discovers the epic in the tiny, the global in the local, the love in the loss, the history in the momentary. An extraordinary novel, fresh and cleansing, like the rain bouncing off the metal roof of our lives.” —Colum McCann, author of Let the Great World Spin and Aperignon

"Flows like rivers from ancient Nineveh to present-day London with characters of the distant past as bright and vivid as those of today.” —Philippa Gregory, author of The Other Boleyn Girl