📚 Finished reading In Ascension by Martin MacInnes.

We start by learning about the childhood of our heroine, Leigh. She grew up in Rotterdam, a city surrounded by and threatened by, water - a portent of the future ravages of climate change. Her family life was not at all what one would hope for.

Years later though, she’s gotten out of it all. Life amongst water surely influenced her though. She studied as marine biologist, and later gets involved in a ship-bound expedition to investigate what appears to be an unprecedented anomaly discovered in the ocean.

One thing leads to another, and she’ll eventually get involved in a mission to investigate another anomaly, one much further away. Nonetheless, no far how far away you go, it’s impossible to entirely evade the more conventional trials and tribulations of day-to-day life as a human.

The book has been described as genre-defying. In part it’s pretty sciencey science-fiction, something that based on some reviews I’ve seen not everyone gets on well with. But it never strays far from much more human topics; psychology, connection, relationships functional or otherwise. There’s ever present mysteries, meditations on Big Questions, and just enough ambiguity to be memorable and engaging rather than frustrating.

It’s beautifully written, conveying well a real and detailed sense of the wonder and majesty of the natural world, the wider ecology, and humanity’s place within it. Profound, philosophical and truly fascinating; justly longlisted for the Booker Prize. I now want to read all the author’s other books.

Book cover for In Ascension