Lighthouse Island

Lighthouse Island

3.7 15
by Paulette Jiles

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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.

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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.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
New York Times best-selling author Jiles typically sets her novels in the past, but here she's off to a future world with too many people, hardly any animals or water, and no borders, maps, or numbered years. The orphaned Nadia Stepan survives by dreaming of Lighthouse Island, where she heads when she breaks from her foster family. With a 50,000-copy first printing.
Publishers Weekly
Jiles’s latest (following The Color of Lighting) is a lyrical take on dystopian fiction set in an arid, borderless future in which a surfeit population has caused the totalitarian government’s Agencies to resort to drastic survival measures. “People disappeared but everybody pretended not to notice and stayed neutral and colorless like fabric lampshades.” Nadia Stepan, deserted by her family when she was four, leads a lonely existence centered on her fantasies about living on Lighthouse Island, a magical place advertised on TV, promising serenity in a natural setting. A chance encounter leads her to James Orotov, a mysterious man who says he has knowledge of her long-imagined destination and possible safe routes to it. Nadia must learn to trust James while hoping that the technical know-how and connections he claims to possess will be enough to travel safely without arousing the suspicion of the authorities. The dangerous plot James hatches is like that of one of Nadia’s beloved classic novels. The real test, however, consists of living without the restrictions that have defined their existences up until now. Jiles’s prose is a striking match for the barren landscape of this moody adventure tale. Agent: Liz Darhansoff, Darhansoff & Verrill. (Oct.)
“A remarkably engaging story. . . . Jiles’s description is memorable and evocative.”
“Jiles’ spare and melancholy prose is the perfect language for this tale in which survival necessitates brutality.”
New York Times Book Review on THE COLOR OF LIGHTNING
“A gripping, deeply relevant book.”
“[A] meticulously researched and beautifully crafted story . . . this is glorious work.”
San Antonio Express-News 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.”
Columbus Dispatch 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.”
New York Times Book Review on LIGHTHOUSE ISLAND
“[I]nventive futurism and rollicking wit.”
Kirkus Reviews
A quest novel set in the future, when America has become a vast megalopolis divided into "Gerrymanders" and water is a scarce resource in a new "Drought Age." At the age of 4, Raisa is abandoned by her parents and taken to an orphanage. She officially becomes a PD--a Parentless Dependent--and is given a new name, Nadia Stepan. Although she has an eye condition that temporarily renders her blind, Nadia learns from television (which pervades the culture, along with Big Radio) about Lighthouse Island, a land presented as a Utopian refuge from all that ails the vast city that America has turned into. It's presented as a place of "no buildings, no water rationing, only landforms, and random plants, fossils, silence, solitude, [and] mountains...." We also learn of James Orotov, a paraplegic meteorologist and demolitions expert fascinated by geography, whose maps lead to suspicions of his being guilty of "[c]artographical treason." Nadia eventually grows up and becomes adept at lying as a survival technique, and when Oversupervisor Blanche Warren discovers that she has had an affair with Blanche's husband, Nadia decides to escape by going to Lighthouse Island. Eventually, her path crosses with James', and he explains to her the vastness--and perhaps impossibility--of her undertaking. Nadia and James in due course fall in love and get married--and help each other on the long journey north to Lighthouse Island. When they arrive, they find it's scarcely the Utopia it's cracked up to be. Jiles writes beautifully but paces the novel glacially.

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HarperCollins Publishers
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