Synopses & Reviews
ONE OF LITHUB'S MOST ANTICIPATED TITLES OF 2021
In a near-future world on the brink of collapse, a young woman born into servitude must seize her own freedom in this glittering debut with a brilliant twist.
In fifty years, Myrra will be free.
Until then, she's a contract worker. Ever since she was five, her life and labor have belonged to the highest bidder on her contract — butchers, laundries, and now the powerful, secretive Carlyles.
But when one night finds the Carlyles dead, Myrra is suddenly free a lot sooner than she anticipated — and at a cost she never could have imagined. Burdened with the Carlyles' orphaned daughter and the terrible secret they died to escape, she runs. With time running out, Myrra must come face to face with the truth about her world — and embrace what's left before it's too late.
A sweeping novel with a darkly glimmering heart, The World Gives Way is an unforgettable portrait of a world in freefall, and the fierce drive to live even at the end of it all.
“The World Gives Way pulls off the seemingly impossible, giving readers a science fiction epic, a crime thriller, an existential consideration of human mortality and the meanings of life, and a profound meditation on love – all in one supernova of a debut novel.” Paul Harding, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Tinkers
“Marissa Levien's debut novel is a thrilling adventure, and in a moment when we're all looking for escape pods, this is a great one.” Emma Straub, New York Times bestselling author of All Adults Here
“Marissa Levien's clever, humane debut asks a question that feels increasingly central in These Times: what do we do — what can we do — when we know the world is dying? If the stellar premise doesn't suck you in immediately (it will), the richly textured universe and indelible heroine will do the trick — and by the time you get to the final page, you'll be wishing that none of it had to end.” Emily Temple, author of The Lightness
"The World Gives Way features some of the most ingenious world-building I've seen in ages, from class systems to grains of sand in the desert — but that's not what makes it special. The beating heart of this book is what Marissa Levien reveals about love, humanity, and our place in the universe." Rob Hart, author of The Warehouse
About the Author
Marissa Levien is a writer and artist who hails from Washington State and now lives in New York with a kindly journalist and their two cats. The World Gives Way is her first novel.