cover image In Universes

In Universes

Emet North. Harper, $26.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-06-331487-0

North beguiles with a soul-stirring debut following a scientist named Raffi as they travel the multiverse in search of the woman they love. Raffi is studying dark matter when they reconnect with Britt, an artist. The two grew up together, but never became friends because Raffi was too shy. Inspired by the happiness they now feel with Britt and driven by an interest in the possibility of branching universes, they quit their job to study theories of parallel worlds in search of a universe where they had the courage to speak to Britt at 13. Each chapter portrays a new parallel world as Raffi’s consciousness slips between them, encountering new versions of their friends, forbidden loves, romantic partners, and even complete strangers. In the different universes, Raffi is variously a scientist, a professor, an artist, and a restaurant worker. Some chapters employ speculative elements, while others feel hauntingly real. Each convey a poetic sensibility (“There are some things in the universe you can only find by looking away from them,” a lab professor tells Raffi, as they grapple with their unrealized desire for a world where things can go right with Britt). This crackling chronicle of queer love is a must read. Agents: Hafizah Geter and PJ Mark, Janklow & Nesbit Assoc. (Apr.)