The Other Valley: A Novel (Hardcover)
The idea of time travel is a story often told, but The Other Valley takes it to another level. All time exists simultaneously, and it is only possible to travel backwards or forwards in time in times of grief. Knowing this Odile, after seeing something disconcerting, breaks all laws to go back in time to change the present in this coming-of-age story.— Rebecca G
A Goodreads Most Anticipated Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Horror Book of 2024
For fans of Never Let Me Go and The Giver, an elegant and exhilarating literary speculative novel about an isolated town neighbored by its own past and future, and a young girl who spots two elderly visitors from across the border: the grieving parents of the boy she loves.
Sixteen-year-old Odile is an awkward, quiet girl vying for a coveted seat on the Conseil. If she earns the position, she’ll decide who may cross her town’s heavily guarded borders. On the other side, it’s the same valley, the same town. Except to the east, the town is twenty years ahead in time. To the west, it’s twenty years behind. The towns repeat in an endless sequence across the wilderness.
When Odile recognizes two visitors she wasn’t supposed to see, she realizes that the parents of her friend Edme have been escorted across the border from the future, on a mourning tour, to view their son while he’s still alive in Odile’s present.
Edme—who is brilliant, funny, and the only person to truly see Odile—is about to die. Sworn to secrecy in order to preserve the timeline, Odile now becomes the Conseil’s top candidate. Yet she finds herself drawing closer to the doomed boy, imperiling her entire future.
A breathlessly moving “unique take on the intersection of fate and free will” (Nikki Erlick, author of The Measure), The Other Valley is “a stellar debut, full of heartbreak and hope wrapped up in gorgeous prose” (Christina Dalcher, author of Vox).
About the Author
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.
"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 (starred review)
"Beautifully written...a triumph"—Booklist (starred review)
"This gripping speculative novel will make for wonderful book club discussions."—Library Journal (starred review)
“A moving tale of time travel and teen friendship…surprising and heartrending…this will leave readers with plenty to chew on.”—Publishers Weekly
"A lyrical, thought-provoking coming-of-age story that probes the question of self-determination...The premise is strikingly unusual and provocative; the climax, after a long, subtle build, is electrifying. With beautiful prose, a compelling protagonist, and serious fodder for thought, The Other Valley is a remarkable debut."—Shelf Awareness
"This is a quiet gem of a novel. Scott Alexander Howard takes a unique premise and executes it beautifully—never relying too heavily on his fantastical plot device to convey young Odile's heartfelt story."—The Speculative Shelf
“The Other Valley reads like a thriller, and a coming-of-age story . . . every page is imbued with complex questions and even more complex answers. Nowhere is this more thrilling, however, than when, late in the novel, rational and philosophical answers seem to disappear under the weight and force of emotion and reaction. From the mechanics and pitfalls of time travel (in an original and thought-provoking form) to 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
"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
"Part Ishiguro, part Amis, and somehow all its own, The Other Valley marks the debut of a phenomenally talented writer. Pay attention." —Sarah Langan, acclaimed author of Good Neighbors
"What a stunning debut! This coming-of-age story is filled to the brim with heart and hope and Howard’s prose is simply breathtaking. The Other Valley is a brilliant take on time travel and a thought-provoking exploration of the boundaries between fate and choice. Make room on your shelves, folks, this book is going to knock your socks off."—Sylvain Neuvel, award-winning author of Sleeping Giants
"The Other Valley is as riveting as it is philosophically beautiful. Scott Alexander Howard asks us to imagine how we might live if our older and younger selves weren't lost to us, but waited for us somewhere. While the premise is uniquely speculative, the sensation of being stranded between the ambitious optimism of youth and the clouded uncertainty of the future is gorgeously familiar. Powerful and atmospheric, Howard's novel is one I hope to reread at different stages of my life." —Sara Flannery Murphy, author of Girl One and The Wonder State
“Thoughtful, touching and beautiful, The Other Valley is an accomplished and exquisitely crafted novel. Scott Alexander Howard takes readers into a unique world they are sure to remember, and introduces them to Odile, a fascinating character with an unenviable dilemma.” —Adam Hamdy, acclaimed author of The Other Side of Night
"The Other Valley is a complex and elegiac exploration of humanity and our relationship with time. Told through tender and thoughtful prose, Scott Alexander Howard's novel leaves you wondering about the choices you've made in your life, and whether you'd do them differently if you had the chance. It is a tale of loss, of hope, and of possibility. It is a book that will stay with you, if not for its questions about fate and consequence, then for its quiet and moving depiction of love and grief. I loved it."—Nicholas Binge, author of Ascension
“Astonishingly brilliant. My book of the year.” —Liz Nugent, internationally bestselling author of Strange Sally Diamond
“Deeply moving, gorgeously rendered, Scott Alexander Howard’s The Other Valley is a powerful meditation on memory, and grief, and the possibility of real connection, even across time itself. Wonderful.” —Steven Price, Scotiabank Giller Prize finalist and #1 bestselling author of Lampedusa
“In The Other Valley, Scott Alexander Howard takes an ingenious conceit and wraps it in a story of teenage love to explore eternal questions about second chances and predestination. Howard’s novel is sensitively written, propulsively plotted, and unforgettable.”—Kevin Chong, Scotiabank Giller Prize finalist and author of The Double Life of Benson Yu
“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 Award-winning author of Songs for Relinquishing the Earth
"A breathtaking meditation on grief and the fluidity of time, told in elegant, precise prose, and which speeds to an audacious ending." —Kerry Andrew, author of We Are Together Because
“A stellar debut, full of heartbreak and hope wrapped up in gorgeous prose. Scott Alexander Howard is one to watch.” —Christina Dalcher, author of Vox
"The Other Valley comprises three novels, all of them equally enthralling. It is a satisfyingly detailed philosophical thought experiment; a moving, intensely poignant love story, and a masterful, slow-burning suspense novel. It lingers in the mind in the best way, and sits comfortably beside Ishiguro, Ted Chiang and Murakami on an ideal bookshelf."—Jo Harkin, author of Tell Me an Ending