In Ascension

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LONGLISTED FOR THE 2023 BOOKER PRIZEAn astonishing novel about a young microbiologist
investigating an unfathomable deep vent in the ocean floor, leading her on a
journey that will encompass the full trajectory of the cosmos and the passage
of a single human life
Leigh grew up in Rotterdam, drawn to the waterfront as an
escape from her unhappy home life and volatile father. Enchanted by the
undersea world of her childhood, she excels in marine biology, travelling the
globe to study ancient organisms. When a trench is discovered in the Atlantic
ocean, Leigh joins the exploration team, hoping to find evidence of the earth's
first life forms - what she instead finds calls into question everything we
know about our own beginnings.
Her discovery leads Leigh to the Mojave desert and an ambitious new space
agency. Drawn deeper into the agency's work, she learns that the Atlantic
trench is only one of several related phenomena from across the world, each
piece linking up to suggest a pattern beyond human understanding. Leigh knows
that to continue working with the agency will mean leaving behind her declining
mother and her younger sister, and faces an impossible choice: to remain with
her family, or to embark on a journey across the breadth of the cosmos.
Exploring the natural world with the wonder and reverence we usually reserve
for the stars, In Ascension is a compassionate, deeply inquisitive
epic that reaches outward to confront the greatest questions of existence,
looks inward to illuminate the smallest details of the human heart, and shows
how - no matter how far away we might be and how much we have lost hope - we
will always attempt to return to the people and places we call home.