Above Us Only Sky: A Novel
A “gripping, heartwarming” (Bookpage) novel about a family separated by oceans, generations, and war, but connected by something much greater—the gift of wings.
On March 29, 1973, Prudence Eleanor Vilkas was born with heart-shaped wings pressed accordion-style against her back. Considered a birth defect, her wings were surgically removed, leaving only the ghost of them behind.
In 1980, Prudence’s mother takes her from Nashville to Florida, to a town inhabited by people who have run as far as they can without fins or wings. In this new town, Prudence is befriended by a boy who can see what others can’t, including Prudence’s ghostly wings.
The unexpected and unimaginable bubble up from the depths of the Atlantic to confront Prudence when she meets her long-estranged Lithuanian grandfather and discovers a miraculous lineage beating and pulsing with past Lithuanian bird-women, storytellers with wings dragging the dirt, survivors perched on radio towers, lovers lit up like fireworks and heroes disguised as everyday men and women.
Above Us Only Sky spans the 1863 January Uprising against Russian Tsarist rule in Eastern Europe to the fall of the Berlin Wall and Lithuania’s independence in 1991. It is a “daring, imaginative” (Milepost magazine) story of mutual understanding between the old and young; it is a love story, a story of survival, and most importantly, a story about disovering where we belong in the world.
Young-Stone seamlessly balances Lithuanian history with magical realism in this “amazing, spellbinding, incredible journey” (Literary Hoarders).
Praise for Above Us Only Sky: A Novel
“Above Us Only Sky is a raw, beautiful, unforgettable book that folds unfathomable horrors and unfathomable love into a story of incredible power. Young-Stone is a master writer, and her deft control of this novel's many moving pieces puts her in the highest echelon of our craft. Yet at the center, literal and figurative, of this novel is a story so brilliantly simple and deeply moving, you'll forget you are reading a book. This story shook me to my core, and I can't wait for the rest of the world to experience it.”
—Lydia Netzer, bestselling author of Shine Shine Shine and How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky
"Rich with themes of love and loss. Young-Stone has spun a beautiful tale on the cusp of magical realism, but with 100% pure magical prose."
—Heidi Durrow, New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Fell From the Sky
“The beautiful prose in Michele Young-Stone’s Above Us Only Sky flies off the page. A stirring meditation on resilience, the ties that bind us to our past, and what it means to have wings.”
—Tracy Guzeman, author of The Gravity of Birds
“Young-Stone has written a novel that's both fanciful and brutally realistic, soaring as it does between angelic beings and heartless dictators. From America to Lithuania, from past to present, this is a heart-wrenching tale for literary fiction fans and particularly for readers interested in World War II.”
“Imaginative and vivid storytelling”
“Young-Stone paints a surreal world of modern fantasy and tragic history. . . . A daring, imaginative work.”
“A gripping, heartwarming tale that affirms the strength of family connections despite tragedy, time and separation.”