Wolfe Island by Lucy Treloar

1. First lines. 2. Published 2019. Pan Macmillan Curtis Brown 3. Czechoslovakian wolf dog. [Public Domain] via peakpx 4. beach-driftwood-sea-coast [Public Domain] via pxhere
The migrant crisis and climate change converge.

Set in the present day or near-future, the story is about Kitty Hawke, a loner living on fictitious Wolfe Island in Chesapeake Bay with her pet wolfdog, Girl. She is the last inhabitant after most of the island has succumbed to rising sea levels. One day, her grand-daughter Cat, who Kitty has never met comes to the island seeking protection. She and the others who come with her refuse to tell Kitty about the trouble they are in, until their lives are threatened, and Kitty has to act.

“Some dogs need leads. Same with some people.”

“It is best to take the long view in life. I have often failed.”

“Finally we came upon a town, by chance more than design. It was like Blackwater, all prettiness, each dollhouse down the main street a different colour and trimmed in white. A few stores had hopeful stands of clothing out front, and souvenirs and paintings of sunsets in their windows.”

“I passed a lot the size of an airfield filled with shipping containers, with a sign out front: For All Your Home and Storage Needs! … People lived there on tidy streets of containers that were dark grey or rusted to the colour of dried blood, or in the nicer streets prettied up with a hope-filled lick of paint.”

  • Newton Review of Books: Wolfe Island is climate-change fiction that reads like historical fiction. It’s brilliant. It’s also quietly terrifying. And every page left me wondering: when will then be now?”
  • Readings: “If this sounds like a climate-change dystopia – well, it is, and it isn’t. It is foremost a story of individual separateness and grief, of strength and love, and of the way seismic change happens and people choose to look away. It is a story of now. I loved it, and I loved the grief it brought me.”

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