Synopses & Reviews
Paulette Jiles's novels have been called "beautiful," "unforgettable," "impeccable," "pitch perfect," "life-affirming," "deeply relevant," "Homeresque," "remarkably engaging," "glorious." Now the acclaimed poet and New York Times
bestselling author of The Color of Lightning
, Stormy Weather
, and Enemy Women
limns new territory with this captivating and atmospheric story set in the far future—a beautiful and engaging literary dystopian tale resonant with love and hope.
See the rain forests . . . northern beauty, misted nights. Come to Lighthouse Island . . .
In the coming centuries, the world's population has exploded and covered the earth with endless cities. Animals are nearly all gone. Drought plagues the land and cloudy water is issued by the quart. There are no maps, no borders, no numbered years. On this urban planet the only relief from the overcrowding, the petty informers, and the harsh rule of the big Agencies is the television in every living space, offering dreams of vanished waterfalls and the promise of virtual vacations in green spaces for the lucky few.
It is an unwelcoming world for an orphan like Nadia Stepan, abandoned by her parents on a crowded street when she was four with only a drawing of the constellations of the Big Dipper—Cassiopeia's Chair and the North Star—and her mother's parting words: "Look to the North Star, and we will always be there." Shuttled from orphanage to orphanage, foster family to foster family, Nadia grows up dreaming of the vacation spot called Lighthouse Island, in a place called the Pacific Northwest where she believes her long-lost parents must be. As her obsession grows, so too does her determination to find her way there.
In the meantime, this bright and witty orphan falls into the refuge of old and neglected books; the lost world of the imagination filled with characters who can't disappear, or be arrested, or hurt her. And there is the voice, bounced from an abandoned satellite, that patiently reads, over and over, the great classical books of the world—Big Radio, a sound in the night that lifts Nadia above the relentless television noise and the dull and perpetual Present. Despite deprivation, uncertainty, and the deceptions she must use to survive, Nadia's dream never waivers. "It will get better, life will get better."
When an opportunity for escape appears, Nadia takes it, abandoning everything to strike out for Lighthouse Island in a dangerous and sometimes comic adventure. She faces every contingency with bottomless inventiveness and meets the 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 megalopolis: Lighthouse Island and its all-seeing eye.
“[A] meticulously researched and beautifully crafted story . . . this is glorious work.” < i=""> Washington Post <> on THE COLOR OF LIGHTNING
“A gripping, deeply relevant book.” < i=""> New York Times Book Review <> on THE COLOR OF LIGHTNING
“A rousing, character-driven tale.” < i=""> Kirkus Reviews <> on THE COLOR OF LIGHTNING
“A remarkably engaging story. . . . Jiless description is memorable and evocative.” < i=""> Denver Post <> on THE COLOR OF LIGHTNING
“Jiles spare and melancholy prose is the perfect language for this tale in which survival necessitates brutality.” < i=""> Seattle Times <> on THE COLOR OF LIGHTNING
“Jiless prose is a striking match for the barren landscape of this moody adventure tale.” < i=""> Publishers Weekly <> on LIGHTHOUSE ISLAND
“Lighthouse Island is a beacon of hope for Nadia, the clever, resourceful young heroine of Paulette Jiles spellbinding new novel. . . . Jiles writing is crisp and vivid as always, and although her setting is vastly different, her themes--independence, individuality, love of the land--remain intact.” < i=""> San Antonio Express-News <> on LIGHTHOUSE ISLAND
“Nadias wandering journey maintains that hopeful anticipation of deep sleep. . . Jiles (Color of Lightening; Stormy Weather) has created a fascinating dystopic vision of a future world.” < i=""> Library Journal <> on LIGHTHOUSE ISLAND
“The dystopian novel is beautifully written, and Jiles scenes of [protagonist] Nadia navigating the crumbling cityscape and her surreal interactions with the many desperate characters are vivid, shocking and often darkly funny.” < i=""> Columbus Dispatch <> on LIGHTHOUSE ISLAND
“[I]nventive futurism and rollicking wit.” < i=""> New York Times Book Review <> on LIGHTHOUSE ISLAND
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.
About the Author
Paulette Jiles is a poet and the author of Cousins, a memoir, and the bestselling novels Enemy Women, Stormy Weather, and The Color of Lightning. She lives on a ranch near San Antonio, Texas.