"Why do we think that women are more likely than men to write novels of such surpassing tenderness that they lift the heart and scald the heart at the same time? Luke Allnutt's debut novel We Own the Sky proves it's not always so. With literary chops and dramatic intensity, this heartbreaking story of a father's love that defies all reason takes off on the first page and never touches down." -Jacquelyn Mitchard, New York Times bestselling author The Deep End of the Ocean and Two if By Sea
"[T]ender and raw, spun in pragmatic prose as personal as a friend's heartfelt admissions, with turns as unexpected as life itself."-Publishers Weekly, starred review
"How do we go on when there seems to be nothing to go toward? How can forgiveness really feel like mercy to ourselves? Luke Allnutt's astounding debut is about memory, love, and how when we are broken, we still can become whole. Gut-wrenching, powerful, and yes, you want to buy copies for friends because this is the kind of book you'll have to share." -Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Is This Tomorrow, Pictures of You and Cruel Beautiful Worl1d
"[A] beautiful, hugely emotional story. And while you'll definitely need tissues, it's the feeling of hope that will stay with you long after you've finished reading." -The Sun (UK)
"We Own the Skyis heartbreak of a novel filled with love, sorrow, pain, andultimatelyhope. The characters are drawn so tenderly, with such beautiful detail, that it's impossible not to feel the emotions that pulse through the pages. Powerful, touching, and poignant, this family's love story had me in tears."
-Jill Santopolo, bestselling author of The Light We Lost
"A breathtaking read that describes perfectly the joy and pain that comes with loving fully and all the compassion and forgiveness it requires. Brimming with hope to the very end." -Steven Rowley, national bestselling author of Lily and the Octopus
"[An] emotional novel of love, loss, and hope.... Allnutt, who began this book after he was diagnosed with colon cancer, teaches us to cherish the simple things in life and that sometimes the only way to keep going is to share your story. Readers who enjoy highly emotional journeys will appreciate this vivid and heart-twisting debut."-Library Journal
"Beautifully rendered and profoundly moving, We Own the Sky illustrates the lengths we'll go to for those we love. Luke Allnutt is a major new talent in fiction and his debut is not to be missed."
-Camille Pagán, bestselling author of Life and Other Near-Death Experiences
"In We Own the Sky, first-time novelist Luke Allnutt creates an arresting intimacy between this family of three.... Funny, heartfelt and honest, We Own the Sky is hard to put down.... Allnutt excels at capturing the full range of emotion and how a single moment can crystallize your whole life-dividing it into "important" and "not important," before and after.... In writing We Own the Sky, Allnutt proves that sometimes authors don't know their heartbreaking power."-Bookpage
"Heartbreaking and devastating and complicated, We Own the Sky offers something remarkable: light in the darkest dark and redemption where there ought to be none." -Laurie Frankel, bestselling author of This Is How It Always Is
"We Own the Sky strikes every emotional chord. I was pulled in at the very first scene and held captive until the final page. A gorgeously written, heart-wrenching novel that beautifully illustrates the vulnerability of the human heart, and the depth one will go to save those they love. Allnutt is a masterful storyteller, deftly weaving past and present, desperation and hope, bitterness and redemption, resulting in a book so gripping, so painfully honest, I was certain it was based on a true story. Thought-provoking, original, and highly readable, We Own the Sky is a perfect book club selection."
-Lori Nelson Spielman, internationally bestselling author of The Life List and Sweet Forgiveness
"We Own the Sky mirrors real life and the heavens above us: It is beautiful, breathtaking and -all too often - inexplicably dark. Luke Allnutt has written a haunting, heartbreaking and human novel about having the world in your hands, losing it all, and trying to recapture a semblance of life and hope one sunrise and one starry night at a time." -Viola Shipman, internationally bestselling author of The Charm Bracelet and The Recipe Box
"We Own the Sky is a gripping, heart-squeezing story about how to carry on after losing what we love most. With grace, emotional keenness and a steady moral searchlight, Luke Allnutt guides the reader through the darkest despair and back to hope. A brave and intense novel. -Val Emmich, author of The Reminders
"[E]choes of David Mitchell, Jodi Picoult, and John Green."-Grazia (UK)
"Prepare to have your heart wrenched by this emotion-drenched story." -Sunday Mirror (UK)
"Allnutt plunges the reader into narrator Rob's experience of searing loss and the attendant denial, fear, anger, guilt, blame, and grief.... Heartrending."-Booklist
"We Own the Sky is a life-affirming yet heart-breaking wonder of a book about love in all its forms. Parental love, with the doubts, fears and joy that it brings and also the headrush of falling in love followed by the tough reality of trying to keep alive the magic once real life rears its head. The writing throughout is fluent and lyrical, full of humor and heart. It is one of the most raw and honest novels I've read in a long time-and yet Allnutt constantly finds the joy amidst the heartbreak-the chinks of light in the darkness."
-Katie Marsh, author of My Everything
"This book will break your heart, but repair it too. Luke Allnutt's writing is full of compassion. It made me hold my loved ones a little bit closer."-Katie May, The Whitstable High Tide Swimming Club
"Deeply affecting. A beautiful, remarkable book."
-Lucy Diamond, author of The Secrets of Happiness
"Utterly beautiful, heartbreaking and ultimately uplifting."
-Rachael Lucas, author of The State of Grace
"There is a raw authenticity to this stunning novel." -The People (UK)
"This book brims over with empathy. Rob and Anna's crippling grief is utterly heartbreaking to read. It's at times a difficult read, but I finished it with tears running down my face. This is a book that will get under your skin and stay in your mind for a long time. Beautiful and irresistible."
-Clare Swatman, author of Before You Go
"Both movingly tender and unflinchingly honest, We Own the Sky is story that will stay with me." -Isabel Ashdown, author of Little Sister
"[S]mashing ... writing is exquisite ... will long linger in your memory."-NJ.com
"A heartbreaking read about love and loss. Have your tissues handy." -Bella Magazine (UK)
"Allnutt provides a visceral, heart-breaking portrait of a father facing the loss of his 'beautiful boy.' Not the macho loss of football scarves and shared pints, but the inconceivable evaporation of memories, of smells and the warmth of physical contact with our children that can be all too fleeting."-Jem Lester, author of Shtum
A couple is torn apart by a child's cancer in Allnutt's debut.From the first chapters, readers know that something has gone seriously awry in the marriage of young upper-middle-class Brits Rob and Anna. Addled by vodka, Rob wakes up to discover that Anna and their young son, Jack, are gone. There follows an extended flashback detailing how this came about. The couple met while attending Cambridge, she in economics and he in computer science. Degreed, they soon settle down to a comfortable London life: She's an accountant; he has a lucrative contract with a startup. After two miscarriages, Anna and Rob are overjoyed at the birth of a son. As Jack grows, he bonds with stay-at-home dad Rob, whose career dilemmas, interposed at this point, do little to either advance the story or illuminate his character. Similarly, beyond the stereotypical attributes of her trade, we never learn much about Anna. At age 5, Jack is diagnosed with a brain tumor. Two specialists are consulted and surgery performed, affording provisional hope: A celebratory vacation in Crete ensues. But Jack has a relapse, and this time only palliative measures are possible. Rob consults Hope's Place, a social media forum, obsessively following "Nev," one poster whose son Josh had a similar malignancy. Josh is now in complete remission thanks to the ministrations of a Dr. Sladkovsky in Prague. Sladkovsky's clinic, though pricey, has purportedly worked miracles with "immuno-engineering." Suspecting snake oil and concerned about finances, Anna balks at this expedient. (The costs, if any, of Jack's U.K. treatment are never addressed, which U.S. readers might find disappointing.) When a family emergency calls Anna away, Rob, desperate that time is running out, spirits Jack to Prague. Sladkovsky's experimental protocols seem to be working—then an irate Anna arrives. In its depiction of ordinary people in dire circumstances, the book opts for uplifting messages over controversy. Sympathy for Allnutt's characters is de rigueur; unfortunately, they lack the depth to command it.Undeniably well-meaning but too circumspect in its approach.
When a child is gravely ill, the realization of what he or she might never experience—first date, high school graduation, first child—is put into stark relief in this emotional novel of love, loss, and hope. Rob and Anna Coates and their son Jack are a happy family until their lives are divided by a single day—"before" cancer diagnosis and "after." Rob and Anna, facing the devastating possibility that Jack might die, are crippled by their anticipation of the worst. Each parent copes differently. Anna is stoic but blames herself and believes that without Jack, there would be nowhere for her love to go. Rob drowns his worry but finally trades his vodka bottle for a camera, creating photographic essays of Jack's favorite places, giving visual voice to grief and fear. In the end, Rob and Anna learn that with love, there is always hope for the future. Allnut, who began this book after he was diagnosed with colon cancer, teaches us to cherish the simple things in life and that sometimes the only way to keep going is to share your story. VERDICT Readers who enjoy highly emotional journeys will appreciate this vivid and heart-twisting debut. [See Prepub Alert, 10/18/17.]—K.L. Romo, Duncanville, TX