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Lighthouse Island
Cover of Lighthouse Island
Lighthouse Island
A Novel
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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.

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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About the Author-
  • Paulette Jiles is a novelist, poet, and memoirist. She is the author of Cousins, a memoir, and the novels Enemy Women, Stormy Weather, The Color of Lightning, Lighthouse Island, and News of the World. She lives on a ranch near San Antonio, TX.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    August 5, 2013
    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.

  • Library Journal

    May 15, 2013

    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.

    Copyright 2013 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Publishers Weekly on LIGHTHOUSE ISLAND

    "Jiles's prose is a striking match for the barren landscape of this moody adventure tale."

  • Denver Post on THE COLOR OF LIGHTNING

    "A remarkably engaging story. . . . Jiles's description is memorable and evocative."

  • Washington Post on THE COLOR OF LIGHTNING

    "[A] meticulously researched and beautifully crafted story . . . this is glorious work."

  • New York Times Book Review on THE COLOR OF LIGHTNING

    "A gripping, deeply relevant book."

  • Kirkus Reviews on THE COLOR OF LIGHTNING

    "A rousing, character-driven tale."

  • Seattle Times on THE COLOR OF LIGHTNING

    "Jiles' spare and melancholy prose is the perfect language for this tale in which survival necessitates brutality."

  • 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."

  • Library Journal on LIGHTHOUSE ISLAND

    "Nadia's 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."

  • 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."

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