The Lightkeepers : A Novel

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  • Author(s): Geni, Abby
  • Publication Information:
    Berkeley, CA : Counterpoint. 2016
  • Additional Information
    • Publication Type:
    • Abstract:
      Winner of the 2016 B&N Discover Great New Writers Award for Fiction In The Lightkeepers, we follow Miranda, a nature photographer who travels to the Farallon Islands, an exotic and dangerous archipelago off the coast of California, for a one-year residency capturing the landscape. Her only companions are the scientists studying there, odd and quirky refugees from the mainland living in rustic conditions; they document the fish populations around the island, the bold trio of sharks called the Sisters that hunt the surrounding waters, and the overwhelming bird population who, at times, create the need to wear hard hats as protection from their attacks.Shortly after her arrival, Miranda is assaulted by one of the inhabitants of the islands. A few days later, her assailant is found dead, perhaps the result of an accident. As the novel unfolds, Miranda gives witness to the natural wonders of this special place as she grapples with what has happened to her and deepens her connection (and her suspicions) to her companions, while falling under the thrall of the legends of the place nicknamed “the Islands of the Dead.” And when more violence occurs, each member of this strange community falls under suspicion.The Lightkeepers upends the traditional structure of a mystery novel —an isolated environment, a limited group of characters who might not be trustworthy, a death that may or may not have been accidental, a balance of discovery and action —while also exploring wider themes of the natural world, the power of loss, and the nature of recovery. It is a luminous debut novel from a talented and provocative new writer.
    • Subject Terms:
    • Subject Terms:
    • Related ISBNs:
      9781619026001. 9781619027497.
    • Accession Number:
    • Accession Number:
    • Publication Information:
      Print/Save 100 pages
      Copy/Paste Restricted
  • Citations
    • ABNT:
      GENI, A. The Lightkeepers : A Novel. Berkeley, CA: Counterpoint, 2016. ISBN 9781619026001. Disponível em: Acesso em: 20 fev. 2020.
    • AMA:
      Geni A. The Lightkeepers : A Novel. Berkeley, CA: Counterpoint; 2016. Accessed February 20, 2020.
    • APA:
      Geni, A. (2016). The Lightkeepers : A Novel. Counterpoint.
    • Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date:
      Geni, Abby. 2016. The Lightkeepers : A Novel. Berkeley, CA: Counterpoint.
    • Harvard:
      Geni, A. (2016) The Lightkeepers : A Novel. Berkeley, CA: Counterpoint. Available at: (Accessed: 20 February 2020).
    • Harvard: Australian:
      Geni, A 2016, The Lightkeepers : A Novel, Counterpoint, Berkeley, CA, viewed 20 February 2020, .
    • MLA:
      Geni, Abby. The Lightkeepers : A Novel. Counterpoint, 2016. EBSCOhost,
    • Chicago/Turabian: Humanities:
      Geni, Abby. The Lightkeepers : A Novel. Berkeley, CA: Counterpoint, 2016.
    • Vancouver/ICMJE:
      Geni A. The Lightkeepers : A Novel [Internet]. Berkeley, CA: Counterpoint; 2016 [cited 2020 Feb 20]. Available from:


Booklist Reviews 2015 November #2

*Starred Review* Geni follows her distinctive short story collection, The Last Animal (2013), with a first novel of gripping, talon-sharp intensity. Nature photographer Miranda has traveled the world to places of magnificent if harrowing extremes to capture life in its wondrously myriad forms, but nothing has prepared her for the wild glory and malevolence of the Farallon Islands. Not far off the coast of northern California, these small, wind-whipped, rocky outposts surrounded by viciously rough seas seem to exist outside time. Also called the Islands of the Dead and teeming with mice, bats, seabirds, and elephant seals as great sharks and whales patrol nearby, they are off-limits to humans, except for a small group of hardened biologists who barely acknowledge the photographer's presence. Miranda recounts the many dangers she faces, both in nature and among the secretive scientists, in undeliverable letters to her long-dead mother. This poignant epistolary habit in concert with her living life through the camera lens leads to discerning and affecting reflections on loss, aloneness, and the discrepancies between memory, image, and fact. As the plot turns violent and suspenseful, and the mesmerizingly vivid descriptions reach shivery crescendos of shocking revelations, Geni dramatically meshes the grand, menacing power of the ruthless wild with the mysteries and aberrations of the equally untamed human psyche. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

PW Reviews 2015 November #5

The strange and desolate Farallon Islands serve as the backdrop for this evocative and enchanting debut novel. Geni transports us to this jagged, treeless archipelago off the coast of San Francisco to explore a single house, inhabited by five biologists, an intern, and the narrator—a nature photographer named Miranda. Wherever she travels, Miranda writes letters to her dead mother, revealing parts of herself that remain hidden to the rest of the world. While she photographs the elephant seals, whales, sharks, and birds, the looming danger of the ocean and the islands themselves force Miranda to rely on her often elusive housemates. There is Galen, the longest resident, who is a shark specialist; Mick, the amiable whale biologist; Charlene, the young, enthusiastic intern; and Lucy, a private but determined ornithologist. A series of mysterious accidents and injuries augur more surprises during Miranda's tumultuous stay on the islands. Geni (The Last Animal) writes with the clear, calm confidence of a master storyteller. This is a haunting and immersive adventure, set in an unforgettable, wild habitat of its own. (Jan.)

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