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Random House

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“The Morningside” (Random House) is the latest novel by Téa Obreht (the New York Times bestselling author of “The Tiger’s Wife” and “Inland”), set in a future metropolis ravaged by climate change.

Read an excerpt below. 

“The Morningside” by Téa Obreht

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Long ago, before the desert, when my mother and I first arrived in Island City, we moved to a tower called the Morningside, where my aunt had already been serving as superintendent for about ten years.

The Morningside had been the jewel of an upper-city neighborhood called Battle Hill for more than a century. Save for the descendants of a handful of its original residents, however, the tower was, and looked, deserted. It reared above the park and the surrounding townhomes with just a few lighted windows skittering up its black edifice like notes of an unfinished song, here-and-there brightness all the way to the thirty third floor, where Bezi Duras’s penthouse windows blazed, day and night, in all directions.

By the time we arrived, most people, especially those for whom such towers were intended, had fled the privation and the rot and the rising tide and gone upriver to scattered little freshwater townships. Those holding fast in the city belonged to one of two groups: people like my aunt and my mother and me, refuge seekers recruited from abroad by the federal Repopulation Program to move in and sway the balance against total urban abandonment, or the stalwart handful of locals hanging on in their shrinking neighborhoods, convinced that once the right person was voted into the mayor’s office and the tide pumps got working again, things would at least go back to the way they had always been.

The Morningside had changed hands a number of times and was then in the care of a man named Popovich. He was from Back Home, in the old country, which was how my aunt had come to work for him.

Ena was our only living relative—or so I assumed, because she was the only one my mother ever talked about, the one in whose direction we were always moving as we ticked around the world. As a result, she had come to occupy valuable real estate in my imagination. This was helped by the fact that my mother, who never volunteered intelligence of any kind, had given me very little from which to assemble my mental prototype of her. There were no pictures of Ena, no stories. I wasn’t even sure if she was my mother’s aunt, or mine, or just a sort of general aunt, related by blood to nobody. The only time I’d spoken to her, when we called from Paraiso to share the good news that our Repopulation papers had finally come through, my mother had waited until the line began to ring before whispering, “Remember, her wife just died, so don’t forget to mention Beanie,” before thrusting the receiver into my hand. I’d never even heard of the wife, this “Beanie” person, until that very moment.

Excerpt from “The Morningside” by Téa Obreht, copyright © 2024 by Téa Obreht. Used by permission of Random House, an imprint of Random House Group, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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“The Morningside” by Téa Obreht

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For more info:

  • “The Morningside” by Téa Obreht (Random House), in Hardcover, Large Print Trade Paperback, eBook and Audio formats


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