There are Rivers in the Sky

There are Rivers in the Sky

From the bestselling author of The Island of Missing Trees

Summary

The breathtaking new novel from the Booker-shortlisted, internationally bestselling author of The Island of Missing Trees and 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World

*****

This is the story of one lost poem, two great rivers, and three remarkable lives – all connected by a single drop of water.

In the ruins of Nineveh, that ancient city of Mesopotamia, there lies hidden in the sand fragments of a long-forgotten poem, the Epic of Gilgamesh.

In Victorian London, an extraordinary child is born at the edge of the dirt-black Thames. Arthur’s only chance of escaping poverty is his brilliant memory. When his gift earns him a spot as an apprentice at a printing press, Arthur’s world opens up far beyond the slums, with one book soon sending him across the seas: Nineveh and Its Remains.

In 2014 Turkey, Narin, a Yazidi girl living by the River Tigris, waits to be baptised with water brought from the holy sit of Lalish in Iraq. The ceremony is cruelly interrupted, and soon Narin and her grandmother must journey across war-torn lands in the hope of reaching the sacred valley of their people.

In 2018 London, broken-hearted Zaleekhah, a hydrologist, moves to a houseboat on the Thames to escape the wreckage of her marriage. Zaleekhah foresees a life drained of all love and meaning – until an unexpected connection to her homeland changes everything.

A dazzling feat of storytelling from one of the greatest writers of our time, Elif Shafak’s There are Rivers in the Sky is a rich, sweeping novel that spans centuries, continents and cultures, entwined by rivers, rains, and waterdrops:

‘Water remembers. It is humans who forget.’

*****

Elif Shafak is a unique and powerful voice in world literature’ Ian McEwan

'Shafak makes a new home for us in words' Colum McCann

'One of the best writers in the world today' Hanif Kureishi

Reviews

  • 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

About the author

Elif Shafak

Elif Shafak is an award-winning British Turkish novelist whose work has been translated into fifty-five languages. The author of nineteen books, twelve of which are novels, she is a bestselling author in many countries around the world. Shafak's latest novel, The Island of Missing Trees, was a top ten Sunday Times bestseller, a Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick and was shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award and the Women's Prize. Her previous novel 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the RSL Ondaatje Prize; longlisted for the Dublin Literary Award; and chosen as Blackwell's Book of the Year. Her novel The Forty Rules of Love was chosen by the BBC as one of the 100 books that shaped our century. Shafak was awarded the Halldór Laxness International Literature Prize for her contribution to 'the renewal of the art of storytelling.'
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