Under This Unbroken Sky

Under This Unbroken Sky

by Shandi Mitchell
  • critically-acclaimed
  • debut
  • historical
  • literary

Under This Unbroken Sky is a New York Times bestseller that has been translated into Chinese, Dutch, Hebrew, and Italian, and was purchased in a swift and aggressive pre-emptive bid by Nicole Winstanley of Penguin Group (Canada) — the editor for Joseph Boyden, Julie Buxbaum, Kiran Desai, Stef Penney, and Jack Todd — and Weidenfeld & Nicolson’s Arzu Tahsin — one of the originating English-language editors of Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns.

A sublime novel of devotion, treachery, forgiveness, and death, Under This Unbroken Sky is the magnificent and harrowing tale of an immigrant family whose desperate hands work the earth and preserve its gifts, while equally desperate minds plot much darker deeds. Nearly all is lost when a brother is pitted against a sister, a mother against her newborn, and by the end of the year, three are dead—two murdered and one by his own hand. Rich in emotion and anticipation, Under This Unbroken Sky brings to mind the celebrated writings of Stef Penney and Annie Proulx.


Shandi Mitchell, author

Shandi Mitchell spent her childhood on a military base in the Prairies, but now makes her home on the East Coast of Canada. Her award-winning films have been featured at festivals across North America, and Under This Unbroken Sky is her first novel.


  • A highly absorbing and animated narrative... powerfully portrayed and completely unpredictable… deftly demonstrate[s] Mitchell’s prowess as a writer of fiction... with her filmmaker’s keen eye for detail and obvious appreciation for action... compelling, captivating, and well worth reading. - Winnipeg Free Press
  • Stunning as a first effort and accomplished by any measure... an evocative portrait of the life of Ukrainian immigrants… unflinching in its description of the hardships faced by determined but star-crossed patriarch Theo Mykolyshen. - The Toronto Star
  • “Under This Unbroken Sky" crushed and inspired me simultaneously, a novel I didn’t want to end. Shandi Mitchell’s prose strikes like a prairie thunder storm, every page building to an intensity that’s simply awing to behold. Brilliant and honest and brutal, this new voice feels as old and right as anything I’ve read in a very long time. - Joseph Boyden, Giller Prize winner, author of Through Black Spruce, Three Day Road
  • [Mitchell’s] sensuous response to her environment is powerfully reflected in her characters, who are seeking to align themselves with that indifferent world even as the tensions of their past lead them into an intricate, inevitable and entirely convincing tragedy. - Antonia MacDonald-Smythe, Commonwealth Prize-Jury Chair
  • A beautiful story about two families who have nothing, yet manage to strip each other of everything. - Easy Living UK
  • Beautifully drawn characters, flawless descriptions of an unrelenting landscape and the intricate plot add to this harrowing, breathtaking novel... it’ll warm your heart and then break it. Not to be missed. - SHE Magazine UK
  • Shandi Mitchell’s impressive debut may not sound like your typical beach read but this tautly controlled epic should keep those in search of some literary escapism hooked until the last page all the same. - Metro UK
  • Superb historical fiction filled with tension, unforgettable characters, and a dramatic setting; enthusiastically recommended. - Library Journal, starred review
  • A bold and brutal study of love, betrayal and loyalty. Beautifully pitched and unsentimental in execution. Brilliant. - Marie Claire Magazine UK
  • This stunning first novel is powerful, tragic and utterly gripping. - The Times UK
  • A magnificent novel, written with grace and power, "Under This Unbroken Sky" is a powerhouse of a debut that grips from start to finish. - Steven Galloway, author of Ascension and The Cellist of Sarajevo
  • The starkly gorgeous prairie comes alive... Combining the storytelling skills of Ivan Doig with the stunning landscapes in Karen Fisher’s A Sudden Country, Mitchell’s harrowing story delivers an unforgettable literary tribute to an immigrant people and their struggle. The lyrical style, the riveting historical material, and the treatment of prejudice make the novel a great book-club choice. - Booklist, starred review

Rights Holder

Rights Holder: Cooke International

email: rights@cookeinternational.com

website: http://www.cookeinternational.com/

rights sold: English (Canada, Penguin Canada; UK, Weidenfeld & Nicolson; US, HarperCollins)

rights available: World

Additional Information

number of pages: 352

publication date: 09/08/2009

Original language of pub: English

Materials Available: finished book