The Morningside: A Novel
From the critically beloved, New York Times bestselling author of The Tiger’s Wife and Inland, a sweeping novel of mothers and daughters, displacement and belonging, and wondrous tales of a world both fallen and new
“A multifaceted gift of a novel that only Téa Obreht could conjure onto paper.”—Karen Russell, author of Orange World and Other Stories
There’s the world you can see. And then there’s the one you can’t. Welcome to the Morningside.
After being expelled from their ancestral home in a not-so-distant future, Silvia and her mother finally settle at the Morningside, a crumbling luxury tower in a place called Island City where Silvia’s aunt Ena serves as the superintendent. Silvia feels unmoored in her new life because her mother has been so diligently secretive about their family’s past, and because the once-vibrant city where she lives is now half-underwater. Silvia knows almost nothing about the place where she was born and spent her early years, nor does she fully understand why she and her mother had to leave. But in Ena there is an opening: a person willing to give the young girl glimpses into the folktales of her demolished homeland, a place of natural beauty and communal spirit that is lacking in Silvia’s lonely and impoverished reality.
Enchanted by Ena’s stories, Silvia begins seeing the world with magical possibilities and becomes obsessed with the mysterious older woman who lives in the penthouse of the Morningside. Bezi Duras is an enigma to everyone in the building: She has her own elevator entrance and leaves only to go out at night and walk her three massive hounds, often not returning until the early morning. Silvia’s mission to unravel the truth about this woman’s life, and her own haunted past, may end up costing her everything.
Startling, inventive, and profoundly moving, The Morningside is a novel about the stories we tell—and the stories we refuse to tell—to make sense of where we came from and who we hope we might become.
Praise for The Morningside: A Novel
“The dreamlike novel draws on elements of folklore and fairy tales for a narrative set eerily close to present day that explores environmental collapse and human resilience.”—Time
“After fleeing their home, Silvia and her mother have relocated to a crumbling luxury tower—the Morningside—in a not-so-distant future where their city is half underwater. This touching and inventive novel follows a young woman searching for meaning and belonging, both through her loving aunt’s stories and the enigmatic resident of the building’s penthouse suite.”—Oprah Daily
“Obreht is such an expert and generous storyteller, infusing The Morningside with the pleasures of folklore and fairy tale while simultaneously diving deep into the silences and irreconcilable contradictions in the stories we inherit about the past.”—Karen Russell, author of Orange World and Other Stories
“Imagine a Ballardian dystopia injected with a double dose of magic realism, so that the pages seem to glow. . . . An ideal novel in which all is invented and everything is true. I loved it.”—Ed Park, author of Same Bed Different Dreams
“Fresh and immensely gripping, The Morningside is a rich saga of migration and the search for belonging, bravely imagining our capacity for survival and love in an uncertain future. . . . A stunning achievement.”—Claire Vaye Watkins, author of I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness
“The Morningside is like nothing I’ve read—at once playful and profound, harrowing and tender, a sparklingly original story of coming of age in a broken world.”—Karen Thompson Walker, author of The Dreamers
“Obreht is offering a cautionary vision of what our future might look like, but she’s also asking questions that are as old as storytelling. What do we want to tell ourselves about ourselves? What do we try to hide from ourselves? And what’s the cost of our lives?”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“As in her previous richly imagined and profoundly insightful novels . . . Obreht writes at the crossroads of myth and history, but here with a twist as she envisions a catastrophic tomorrow in which rampaging forces of nature and human atrocities intensify in impact and scope. . . . A bewitchingly atmospheric, psychologically lush, and deeply knowing tale of ancient sorrows and coalescing crises, courage and fortitude.”—Booklist (starred review)
“Obreht draws upon plausible dystopian and postapocalyptic futures and strong elements from Serbian folktales, as well as magical realism. The result is a strange, almost dreamlike novel, distinctive for its memorable characters and beautiful writing.”—Library Journal
“Obreht imagines a near future reshaped by climate change, where a mother and daughter try to build a new life in a once-luxe high-rise.”—Publishers Weekly