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The Other Valley

A Novel

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About The Book

For fans of Emily St. John Mandel, David Mitchell, and Kazuo Ishiguro, an exquisite literary speculative novel set in an unnamed valley, where bereaved residents can petition to cross a forbidden border to see their lost loved ones again.

Sixteen-year-old Odile Ozanne is an awkward, quiet girl, vying for a coveted seat on the Conseil. If she earns the position, she’ll decree who among the town’s residents may be escorted deep into the woods, who may cross the border’s barbed wire fence, who may make the arduous trek to descend into the next valley over. It’s the same valley, the same town. But to the east, the town is twenty years ahead in time. To the west, it’s twenty years behind. The only border crossings permitted by the Conseil are mourning tours: furtive viewings of the dead in towns where the dead are still alive.

When Odile recognizes two mourners she wasn’t supposed to see, she realizes that the parents of her classmate Edme have crossed the border from the future to see their son while he’s still alive in Odile’s present. Edme—who is brilliant and funny, and the only person to truly know Odile—is about to die. Sworn to secrecy by the Conseil so as not to disrupt the course of nature, Odile finds herself drawing closer to her doomed friend—imperiling her own future.

Masterful and original, The Other Valley is an affecting modern fable about the inevitable march of time and whether or not fate can be defied. Above all, it is about love and letting go, and the bonds, in both life and death, that never break.

About The Author

Photograph by Veronica Bonderud

Scott Alexander Howard lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. He has a PhD in philosophy from the University of Toronto and was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard, where his work focused on the relationship between memory, emotion, and literature. The Other Valley is his first novel. Connect with him at ScottAlexanderHoward.com.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (February 27, 2024)
  • Length: 304 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781668023563

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Raves and Reviews

“Deeply moving, gorgeously rendered . . . 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

“An unusual approach to time travel, a philosophical thought experiment and a deeply moving, ultimately thrilling story about memory, love, and regret.”
The Guardian

“Scott Alexander Howard takes an ingenious conceit and wraps it in a story of teenaged love to explore eternal questions about second chances and predestination. . . . [S]ensitively written, propulsively plotted, and unforgettable.”
KEVIN CHONG, Scotiabank Giller Prize finalist and author of The Double Life of Benson Yu

“Part thriller, part coming-of-age story . . . a thoughtful, character-based reckoning with time and fate, destiny and free will. [With] echoes of writers such as Kazuo Ishiguro and Emily St. John Mandel, The Other Valley is a novel of ideas, rooted firmly in the unknowable mysteries of the heart. It’s a stunning, surprising read, and a dazzling debut.”
The Toronto Star

“Stunning . . . 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 Reviews, starred review

“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 Literary Award–winning author of Songs for Relinquishing the Earth

“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 moving tale of time travel and teen friendship. Surprising and heartrending . . . this will leave readers with plenty to chew on.”
Publishers Weekly

“A stellar debut, full of heartbreak and hope wrapped up in gorgeous prose. Scott Alexander Howard is one to watch.”
CHRISTINA DALCHER, Sunday Times bestselling author of The Sentence and Vox

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