Thursday, October 9, 2014

Lighthouse Island

Update:  One year later, now a trade paperback.  A book you should grab!  (Originally reviewed 9/18/13)

Lighthouse Island: A Novel
Author: Paulette Jiles
Publisher: William Morrow/HarperCollins
October, 2013
ISBN 0062232509, 9780062232502

Idgie Says:
I received this book nice and early and at this time there is no publisher description.

This is a futuristic Dystopian novel where no zombies, apocalyptic events, wars, government plots or aliens ruined us.  We ruined ourselves simply by polluting our earth and draining/poisoning our water supply beyond repair.  We also continued to breed like rabbits.

There are very few animals left in the world - they were all eaten.  We cannot breed more as there's nothing to feed them.

The entire world is one giant polluted city.  You are assigned homes - that are arbitrarily moved when the water for that area runs out.  You are assigned jobs, some absolutely useless just to keep you occupied. You are watched to make sure you don't become subversive.  If you are found to be stealing water or talking against the government you're sent to the cactus farms as manual labor.

Poor Nadia is abandoned by her parents when she's four and 'assigned' another family.  As the years go by she is frequently moved and changed, and falls farther down into the pit of not being needed by society.  Nadia is slowly working her way toward finding herself on a cactus farm.

But Nadia has a dream - there are rumors of open land out there in the world and she decides to walk to the end of the city and find it.

Nadia herself is quite a character to admire.  Strong willed, quick witted, very smart.  She meets many people on her journey to find a tree or a blade of grass, all integral in some way to helping or hindering her goal.  Then comes James, with his wheelchair and excellent knowledge of the land......and where a tree might actually still stand.  Together they begin a journey.

A different type of novel and very enjoyable.  Great descriptive writing. Though it still speaks of humanity's dissolution and ruination, it's a nice change from the usual futuristic story.


Book Description:
 Paulette Jiles, the bestselling author of the highly praised novels The Color of Lightning, Stormy Weather, and Enemy Women, pushes into new territory with Lighthouse Island—a captivating and atmospheric story set in the far future—a literary dystopian tale resonant with love and hope.

In the coming centuries the world's population has exploded. The earth is crowded with cities, animals are nearly all extinct, and drought is so widespread that water is rationed. There are no maps, no borders, no numbered years, and no freedom, except for an elite few.

It is a harsh world for an orphan like Nadia Stepan. Growing up, she dreams of a green vacation spot called Lighthouse Island, in a place called the Pacific Northwest.

When an opportunity for escape arises, Nadia embarks on a dangerous and sometimes comic adventure. Along the way she meets a man who changes the course of her life: James Orotov, a mapmaker and demolition expert. Together, they evade arrest and head north toward a place of wild beauty that lies beyond the megapolis—Lighthouse Island.