The Lightkeepers : A Novel
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.)[Page ]. Copyright 2015 PWxyz LLC