A devastating and euphoric road trip novel about desire, choice and the meaning of free will, from the Man Booker-longlisted author of The Water Cure
Calla knows how the lottery works. Everyone does. On the day of your first bleed, you report to the station to learn what kind of woman you will be. A white ticket grants you children. A blue ticket grants you freedom. You are relieved of the terrible burden of choice. And, once you've taken your ticket, there is no going back.
But what if the life you're given is the wrong one?
Blue Ticket is a devastating enquiry into free will and the fraught space of motherhood. Bold and chilling, it pushes beneath the skin of female identity and patriarchal violence, to the point where human longing meets our animal bodies.
Praise for Blue Ticket
The cool intensity and strange beauty of Blue Ticket is a wonder - be sure to read everything Sophie Mackintosh writesDeborah Levy, author of 'Hot Milk'
This book left me breathless - it is gloriously subversive in its exploration of motherhood and desire. I'll be pressing it on everyoneAngela Chadwick, author of 'XX'
Strange and luminous, spare and precise... A thrilling exploration of what it means to follow one's own longing to the point of destruction and beyondRosie Price, author of 'What Red Was'
Both claustrophobic and expansive, dream-like and heart-stoppingly tense. You will want to languish in its world for a very long timeLara Williams, author of 'Supper Club'
Utterly exquisite - clever and brilliant and heartbreaking. From the dusty road to the salving forest, I absolutely adored itEmma Jane Unsworth, author of 'Adults' and 'Animals'
Chilling, haunting, heartbreaking... Mackintosh brings a new sense of pathos to the dystopian novel... A moving and original meditation on freedom, fate, and women's rageKirkus, Starred Review
A rich, sharp, and daring book. To read Blue Ticket is to feel so vigorously alert you can feel the world turningHeidi Sopinka, author of 'The Dictionary of Animal Languages'
A must for Handmaid's Tale aficionadosBooklist
Told with ragged prose that catches the breath, [Blue Ticket] articulates the irrepressible desires and wounds that can lie deep within, marked by a claustrophobia that never stops pressing in from the margins. This unsettling reimagining of the anxieties and pressures around motherhood lays bare the alienation that comes when your body is not truly yoursIrish News
A darkly brilliant allegory... Astute, revelatory and heartbreakingHeather O'Neill, author of 'The Lonely Hearts Hotel'
Even more hallucinatory and spiralled than her first [novel]... Terrifying and enchanting in equal measureLit Hub, Best New Books to Read This Summer
Powerful, Ishiguro-esque... Sophie Mackintosh lays bare many of the fears and realities that face any society's women as they contemplate when their choices begin, and where they might endBoston Globe
A dark fable... Mackintosh sensitively conveys resonant questions about motherhood, female solidarity, queer love, and bodily autonomyNew Yorker
Chilling, timely, thought-provokingEsquire, Best Books of Summer 2020
Dreamlike, tense, compelling... Blue Ticket adds something new to the dystopian tradition set by Orwell's 1984 or Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale... Piercing moments of wisdom and insight drive toward a pitch-perfect endingThe New York Times
Mackintosh poses urgent questions about social expectations and free will that are relevant to all realitiesPoets and Writers
Cool, disturbing, it deals with emotionally fraught material. Mackintosh traffics in ambivalence and ambiguity... What Calla really wants, the author shows us, isn't necessarily a baby; it's an answerWashington Post
One of the most disquieting novels I've read in a long time, Blue Ticket will worms its way under your skin and haunt your dreamsRed, 'Best Books of August'
For anyone currently waiting with bated breath for the new season of 'The Handmaid's Tale', Booker-longlisted author Sophie Mackintosh's new novel is a feminist dystopia to quench your thirstEvening Standard
A thoughtful and haunting exploration of freedom, fate and a woman's right to choose her destinyObserver
A dreamlike exploration of free will and desireMonocle
Visceral, primal, striking... This is a potent exploration of biology and agency, motherhood and childlessness, which confirms [Mackintosh] as a writer of noteDaily Mail
A compelling, unsettling tale... Part-horror, part thriller, and part pregnant-lesbian love storyi
Blue Ticket offers a completely different angle on a familiar subject... Like all good speculative fiction, [it] reminds us of a truth in the real worldNew Humanist
Gripping, ethereal, atmospheric... Mackintosh handles haziness deliberately and with poise, demonstrating the near impossibility of trying to articulate or rationalise maternal desireSunday Times
Mackintosh is part of a new generation of female writers creating feminist fictions that relate uncannily to our dystopian times... [Her] fiction lives, to an unusual extent, in its musicality, in the rhythm and spareness of its sentencesClaire Armitstead, Guardian Review
Definitely don't miss the return of Sophie Mackintosh... Blue Ticket gets to the root of women's ambivalence and confusion around becoming mothers set against an unsettling dystopia; she's amazingStylist, Best Autumn Reads 2020
A spare, haunting tale of autonomy and free willAnthony Cummins, Daily Mail
[Mackintosh] writes with an ethereal lyricism that is equally capable of fragility and violenceSpectator
Mackintosh writes with a language drawn from the body.... Impressionistic and haunting in equal measureAnnabel Nugent, Independent
The Handmaid's Tale as told by David Lynch... A bona fide chase narrative as well as a polyvalent, dream-like allegory of pregnancy and bodily change - not to mention the vortex of judgement that surrounds womanhood... Mackintosh is part of an exciting generation of writers, including Daisy Johnson and Julia Armfield... Blue Ticket stands apart from the crowdAnthony Cummins, iNews