The Absolute Book

 

The epic fantasy that’s taking the world by storm–a bewitching story about a revenge killing, a mysterious scroll box that has survived centuries of fires, and the book that changed everything

“Intricately plotted and gorgeously written, The Absolute Book is a cinematic tale that is by turns dark and dreamlike, yet ultimately hopeful.” –Deborah Harkness, New York Times bestselling author of A Discovery of Witches

Taryn Cornick believes that the past–her sister’s violent death, and her own ill-conceived revenge–is behind her, and she can get on with her life. She has written a successful book about the things that threaten libraries: insects, damp, light, fire, carelessness and uncaring . . . but not all of the attention it brings her is good.

A policeman, Jacob Berger, questions her about a cold case. Then there are questions about a fire in the library at her grandparents’ house and an ancient scroll box known as the Firestarter, as well as threatening phone calls and a mysterious illness. Finally a shadowy young man named Shift appears, forcing Taryn and Jacob toward a reckoning felt in more than one world.

The Absolute Book is epic, action-packed fantasy in which hidden treasures are recovered, wicked things resurface, birds can talk, and dead sisters are a living force. It is a book of journeys and returns, from contemporary England to Auckland, New Zealand; from a magical fairyland to Purgatory. Above all, it is a declaration of love for stories and the ways in which they shape our worlds and create gods out of mortals.

  • PRAISE:

“Majestic, brain-bending . . . Every once in a while, as a reader, you run into one of those books that is just too big for your mind to entirely take in. . . . It’s quite bracing to come up against the hard edge of your own imagination as you try to pursue a visionary author through the limitless expanse of hers. This is all to say that the experience of reading the New Zealand writer Elizabeth Knox’s contemporary fantasy novel The Absolute Book reminded me of how I felt reading Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell or The Left Hand of Darkness or His Dark Materials or, to move out of genre, Life After Life or The Underground Railroad. I felt that my position in relation to the book’s capacious intellect and imagination and moral purpose was a vertiginous one. It was thrilling and frightening. . . . Each time I thought the book was done surprising me, Knox flexed her own golden gauntlet and opened another gate and flung me through it.” —Dan Kois, Slate

“Full of intrigue, mystery, magic, and history, this is a fascinating read that, despite its length, is hard to put down.” —BuzzFeed

“A propulsive parallel-worlds fantasy epic about the power of stories and storytelling.” —The Guardian

“Knox’s restrained, poetic writing works well with this ever-spiraling, mind-blowing optical illusion of a novel, which marries myths and lore from Celtic, Norse, and Judeo-Christian traditions with a variety of literary references. Weird and enigmatic, occasionally slow but never dull, this grand ode to Story itself is one that begs for a reread.” —Booklist (starred review)

“This darkly luminous fantasy reads like a mystery, thoroughly and wonderfully transporting readers to another world.”—Kirkus Reviews

“An astonishing novel from an author I have long loved, The Absolute Book catches the reader up on the very first page and carries them away in an exhilarating rush.” —Kelly Link, author of Get In Trouble

“Gorgeous . . . The payoffs and reveals are mind-blowing.” —Laini Taylor, author of Daughter of Smoke and Bone

“Elizabeth Knox has the most original and lateral literary mind in New Zealand.” —Metro

‘The master is present. To read Knox on such a huge canvas – to be immersed in her worlds, wrapped in her intelligence and craft so completely – is an experience not be missed. Lessing, Le Guin, Knox – books where the best hearts meet the best minds meet the best imaginations are few and far between. The Absolute Book is a triumph of fantasy grounded in the reality and challenges of the moment we live in.’ PIP ADAM