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White Holes

Inside the Horizon

«Physicist Carlo Rovelli tackles counterintuitive ideas and guides us through a time-reversed black hole in this elegant work»

New Scientist, Best Books of 2023
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Allen Lane
18 x 12 cm


«Physicist Carlo Rovelli tackles counterintuitive ideas and guides us through a time-reversed black hole in this elegant work»

New Scientist, Best Books of 2023

«Enter a black hole and you’re not forgotten; you’re not even gone. In this fascinating little book, Rovelli, one of physics’ most elegant writers, finds hope at the end of all things»

Daily Telegraph, Best Books of the Year

«In White Holes, Rovelli, in lyrical prose and quoting extensively from Dante’s Inferno, takes us inside a black hole, a tunnel that narrows as it lengthens. At the bottom is the star that created it ... a hallucinatory journey »

Pippa Bailey, New Statesman

«A mind-bending journey to the edge of reality from an accomplished storyteller ... Rovelli certainly does an excellent job of conveying the wonder and strangeness of the universe»

Manjit Kumar, Guardian

«Carlo Rovelli is brilliant at making even dopey arts graduates understand physics before comprehension disappears into the black hole of ignorance. Now he turns to white holes. Apparently, where time and space end, the white hole is born (I think)»

The Times

«In Carlo Rovelli’s White Holes, the quantum physicist posits the mind-numbing notion that when they get very, very old, black holes – which result when stars collapse on themselves by force of gravity – turn into, well, white holes. Rovelli writes with equal gaiety and clarity. A splendid book»

John Banville, New Statesman, Best Books of the Year

«We all know about black holes – we've even seen a picture of one. But white holes? In his latest book, theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli weaves a poetic spell to persuade us that these mysterious entities are real... an enjoyable and enlightening read... one of the clearest pictures I have encountered about the physics inside black holes... You probably won’t ever fall into a black hole (or exit a white hole), but reading this might be the next best thing»

Abigail Beall, New Scientist

«Taking the journey with Rovelli is more than worth the price of the book. Dante gave us his tour of the underworld. We could not do better than having Rovelli as a guide into the dark world of black holes»


«Carlo Rovelli is the poet of physics. His sense of wonder obliterates the barrier between Science and the Arts»

Alan Garner

«Rovelli’s genius is to unlearn what we think we know to make space for what we don’t know … so that we can know it »

Jeanette Winterson

«Carlo Rovelli combines science and story like no one else. This short book starts with a wild idea that turned out to be real (black holes), and leads to a wild idea that remains speculative at the moment (white holes). It's a journey through time and space and possibility, led by a charming guide»

Sean Carroll

«Rovelli is the current king of science writing. It’s remarkable and actually just unfair that he can be an eminent physicist and write so beautifully - as if Steph Curry was also a world-class golfer. Even if I don’t understand everything in a Rovelli book I grasp enough to feel like I’m learning, and I know I’m in the hands of a humane thinker»

Ian Leslie

«This is a radical wonder of a book that dares to take the lay reader by the hand and lead them, with generosity and tenderness, into a place that is so conceptually terrifying that it hovers on the periphery of what humans can imagine – namely – the inside of a black hole. Referencing Dante’s voyage in the Divine Comedy and framing Einstein as Virgil, who takes us as far as his theories could then go, it is Rovelli himself who becomes our Beatrice, revealing through time elastic and true physics, the existence of another, perhaps stranger, cosmic eventuality»

Tacita Dean

«A brilliant, expansive and richly rewarding read»

Irenosen Okojie

«What a lovely idea, to cast research into white holes - which may or may not be floating like dragonflies through the universe - as a Dantean journey to the heart of cutting-edge theory. Beautifully done»

Ruth Padel

«Thought-provoking, mind-expanding, and utterly charming. An intellectual feast that's also a fast and entertaining read»

Robert J. Sawyer

«White Holes reads more like poetry than a science lesson… and says as much about imagination and exploration as it does about physicsRovelli helps readers grasp how important imagination is to seeing the universe in new ways, for both artists and scientists»

Andrew Demillo, Associated Press

«World renowned physicist Rovelli's writing is so magical - weaving in Dante and Einstein and art as he goes - you're happy to be transported. His new book - to be gorgeously giftily packaged in a design by Coralie Bickford-Smith - takes us on a bewitching trip into the heart of a black hole. There where time and space end, its opposite - a white hole - is born»

Caroline Sanderson, The Bookseller, Editor's Choice

«White Holes edifies, excites, and even transforms me. Rovelli summons us to novel forms of knowledge while also breathing life into questions that affect all sentient beings, such as: how do we proceed when our guides no longer suffice? I’m grateful for the warm invitation to the journey»

Maggie Nelson

«To venture across the threshold of a black hole and then - incredibly - to burst through to the other side into the imagined but unseen realm of a white hole requires the most expert and sympathetic of guides. Carlo Rovelli is just who you need for such a daunting cosmic journey - ever patient, crystal clear and ready with a steadying hand. What could be a bewildering experience becomes one that's lyrical and illuminating. I read this short, enchanting, mind-opening book in one sitting and was so gripped I immediately read it again»

David Shukman

«Carlo Rovelli's combination of a brilliant scientific mind with philosophical clarity and a deeply and humanely poetic gift of expression is rare. This latest book is a wonderful addition to an already impressive list of works, leading us from the remotest reaches of cosmological speculation to revolutionary insights into our own consciousness»

Rowan Williams

«A wild, exhilarating ride, Dantesque in scope and beauty»

Michael Symmons Roberts

«Rovelli’s vivid, beautifully written book guides us on an incredible journey through a black hole and the science and history of discovery that surrounds these strange, fascinating objects. I couldn’t put it down»

Daniel Locke

«A charming introduction to the mysterious concept of white holes. Carlo Rovelli is a truly beguiling tour guide»

Sarah Hart

«Whenever I feel like I'm descending into obscurity I think of Carlo Rovelli and feel much better»

Sabine Hossenfelder (via Twitter)

«This festive season put White Holes in your friends’ stockings ... a miniature masterpiece by one of the most entertaining scientists on the planet… I would give this book to anyone, young and old, interested in thinking, science and literature… His book is a work of literature itself»

Robert Fox, Evening Standard

«Everyone’s talking about White Holes»

Daily Mail

«Reading it is akin to the final psychedelic sequence in the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey: you’re not sure where you’re heading but it feels bloody exciting ... If you want to remember why you once fell in love with the idea of the cosmos, or want to fall in love with that idea for the first time, then this book is for you»

Kevin Fong, Observer

«Possibly the most charming book by a mainstream scientist this year... Carlo Rovelli is a maestro of imaginative science writing... The book's structure and language have a charm that I found irresistible. No one else matches the way Rovelli describes the creative and imaginative thinking behind theoretical physics»

Clive Cookson, Financial Times

«Carlo Rovelli's brilliant new book White Holes asks surprising questions A beautiful little book, by a celebrated physicist and writer, about a phenomenon that is permitted by equations but might not actually exist … What elevates this book is the author’s supernatural concision, and his artistic and philosophical elegance»

Steven Poole, Daily Telegraph

«This slim, speculative volume will enchant the many fans of the stellar cosmologist. In a work of poetry and imagination as much as physics, he seeks to convince us that black holes (from which nothing can escape) will eventually convert into white holes (which nothing can enter)»

Financial Times, Best Books of the Year

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