Blue Ticket
Sophie Mackintosh

Book cover image

Narrated By: Freya Mavor

Duration: 7 hours and 49 minutes

What to expect

Brought to you by Penguin.

Man Booker Prize-longlisted author of The Water Cure

RECOMMENDED READING FOR 2020 by Stylist, Evening Standard, Esquire, Red, Daily Mail, Oprah Magazine, LitHub, and Emma Roberts's Belletrist Book Club

'The cool intensity and strange beauty of Blue Ticket is a wonder - be sure to read everything Sophie Mackintosh writes' Deborah Levy, author of Hot Milk

'Definitely don't miss the return of Sophie Mackintosh... She's amazing' Stylist, Best Reads of Autumn 2020

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.

'Dreamlike, tense, compelling, [with] a pitch-perfect ending' The New York Times

'Gripping, ethereal, atmospheric' Sunday Times

'Thoughtful and haunting' Observer

'Terrifying and enchanting in equal measure' LitHub

'Blue Ticket will worms its way under your skin and haunt your dreams' Red

© Sophie Mackintosh 2020 (P) Penguin Audio 2020


Modern & contemporary fiction, Dystopian & utopian fiction, Narrative theme: Social issues

Listen to a sample

Gripping, ethereal, atmospheric... Mackintosh handles haziness deliberately and with poise, demonstrating the near impossibility of trying to articulate or rationalise maternal desire

Sunday Times

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 thirst

Evening Standard


Daily Nerd

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 sentences

Guardian Review

Mackintosh writes with a language drawn from the body.... Impressionistic and haunting in equal measure


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 yours

Irish News

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 world

New Humanist

Both claustrophobic and expansive, dream-like and heart-stoppingly tense. You will want to languish in its world for a very long time

Lara Williams, author of 'Supper Club'

Mackintosh poses urgent questions about social expectations and free will that are relevant to all realities

Poets and Writers

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 rage

Kirkus, Starred Review

[Mackintosh] writes with an ethereal lyricism that is equally capable of fragility and violence


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 ending

The New York Times

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 end

Boston Globe

A dark fable... Mackintosh sensitively conveys resonant questions about motherhood, female solidarity, queer love, and bodily autonomy

New Yorker

A compelling, unsettling tale... Part-horror, part thriller, and part pregnant-lesbian love story


Chilling, timely, thought-provoking

Esquire, Best Books of Summer 2020

Visceral, primal, striking... This is a potent exploration of biology and agency, motherhood and childlessness, which confirms [Mackintosh] as a writer of note

Daily Mail

A spare, haunting tale of autonomy and free will

Daily Mail

Utterly exquisite - clever and brilliant and heartbreaking. From the dusty road to the salving forest, I absolutely adored it

Emma Jane Unsworth, author of 'Adults' and 'Animals'

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 beyond

Rosie Price, author of 'What Red Was'

A dreamlike exploration of free will and desire


The cool intensity and strange beauty of Blue Ticket is a wonder - be sure to read everything Sophie Mackintosh writes

Deborah Levy, author of 'Hot Milk'

A rich, sharp, and daring book. To read Blue Ticket is to feel so vigorously alert you can feel the world turning

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 dreams

Red, 'Best Books of August'

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 crowd


A darkly brilliant allegory... Astute, revelatory and heartbreaking

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 answer

Washington Post

Even more hallucinatory and spiralled than her first [novel]... Terrifying and enchanting in equal measure

Lit Hub, Best New Books to Read This Summer

A must for Handmaid's Tale aficionados


A thoughtful and haunting exploration of freedom, fate and a woman's right to choose her destiny


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 amazing

Stylist, Best Autumn Reads 2020

This book left me breathless - it is gloriously subversive in its exploration of motherhood and desire. I'll be pressing it on everyone