A road trip with a difference.
Set in the far future (possibly 2198), it’s the Drought Age. Population explosion has turned America into one big city. Technological advance has stalled, bureacracy has complicated everyday life, and it hasn’t rained for a hundred years. Nadia is an orphan who dreams of travelling to Lighthouse Island, a place she heard about on Big Radio. Her journey is fraught with setbacks and danger.
“In the century and a half of severe drought and wild seasonal swings between cold and heat, the Mississippi River had dwindled to a little apologetic stream and was repeatedly imprisoned behind dams all the way down from wherever it emanated from.”
“Big Radio was not forbidden since it was considered the addiction of lower-down crazies grumbling about spiritual losses in the stench of their airless rooms. It signified the fascination with an avaricious past and a desire for the personal communication and entertainment devices that had turned humanity into consuming somnambulant narcoleptic zombies.”
“Pigeons billowed in and out of the thousands of broken windows. Beyond them, on a rise, a microwave tower on wooden legs published its police purposes against a brass-coloured sky.”
“Sciences of all kinds had undergone regrettable decay under the Facilitators but there was so much else to attend to: unsupportable levels of population, droughts like humankind had never known, cities sprawling over entire continents, demolitions, enforced population shifts, catastrophic loss of reading skills, cities fighting over water sources, the ineradicable fungus of bureaucratic jargon.”
“Her heart was slamming its halves together as if alerting her; Be afraid. She ignored it.”~ Quotes from the book.
- Kirkus: “Jiles writes beautifully but paces the novel glacially.”
- Publishers Weekly: “Jiles’s prose is a striking match for the barren landscape of this moody adventure tale. “
- Quill & Quire: “… this focus on lyrical descriptions of the barren Earth works to the detriment of plot and character, frequently impeding a reader’s engagement with the story. The result is a narrative that is draggy, wordy, and slow, and keeps the reader at one remove from the action.”
Author website: Paulette Jiles