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Lighthouse Island: A Novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, October 8, 2013


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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Jiles’ dystopian novel, set in an overpopulated world ravaged by drought, follows a young woman on her quest to find her way to an island haven. Orphaned as a child, Nadia Stepan finds refuge in literature after her beloved guardian is arrested. As a young woman, Nadia has little aptitude for the government PR job she’s assigned to, and an affair with an Oversupervisor’s husband costs her the position and nearly her freedom. Nadia decides to flee to Lighthouse Island, an island in the Pacific Northwest that is rumored to have water and wildlife in abundance. Nadia finds an unlikely ally in James Orotov, a demolitions expert who was crippled in a blast many years before. After a fateful rooftop meeting, James aids Nadia in her flight, using his access to the system to help her avoid detection and arrest until he, too, falls into disfavor and has to flee. An unfortunate style and a world that, at times, feels cartoonishly evil mar Jiles’ otherwise compelling odyssey, which picks up considerably once Nadia and James are reunited. --Kristine Huntley

Review

“Jiles’s prose is a striking match for the barren landscape of this moody adventure tale.” (Publishers Weekly on LIGHTHOUSE ISLAND)

“A remarkably engaging story. . . . Jiles’s description is memorable and evocative.” (Denver Post on THE COLOR OF LIGHTNING)

“[A] meticulously researched and beautifully crafted story . . . this is glorious work.” (Washington Post on THE COLOR OF LIGHTNING)

“A gripping, deeply relevant book.” (New York Times Book Review on THE COLOR OF LIGHTNING)

“A rousing, character-driven tale.” (Kirkus Reviews on THE COLOR OF LIGHTNING)

“Jiles’ spare and melancholy prose is the perfect language for this tale in which survival necessitates brutality.” (Seattle Times on THE COLOR OF LIGHTNING)

“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.” (San Antonio Express-News 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.” (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.” (Columbus Dispatch on LIGHTHOUSE ISLAND)

“[I]nventive futurism and rollicking wit.” (New York Times Book Review on LIGHTHOUSE ISLAND)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; First Edition edition (October 8, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062232509
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062232502
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,797,654 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

She slows the advancement of the plot by too much description and a lack of clarity.
L.W. Samuelson
And wouldn’t you know it when I got to what I thought should be the end, the plot twisted and we went off in another direction.
Leslie
This was no exception; I liked that this book was very fast-paced and full of action.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Leslie VINE VOICE on November 29, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Nadia, a young woman orphaned at age four, is obsessed with finding her way to Lighthouse Island, a place in the Pacific Northwest that may or may not even exist. Along the way she meets James, a mapmaker and demolition expert, who helps and then later accompanies her on the dangerous journey north.

I enjoy a good dystopian tale and this story had a lot of the elements I like, particularly world building that takes current issues – overpopulation, climate change, government control – and postulates a scary future society. Water is rationed, dates are no longer used, maps have becomes meaningless, people can be arrested or jailed for any reason the government dreams up, especially if they need cheap labor in the work camps, and executions are televised live on reality TV – the more attractive one is, the greater their chance of being the feature presentation.

There was much to like about the premise of this speculative world but unfortunately I had a difficult time getting through it. The pacing was slow and often disjointed and, a big problem for me, a lot of veering off into stream of consciousness and rambling detail. This made it difficult for me to connect with or even care about Nadia. James was a much more interesting character but far less developed. At times I was glued to the book eager to know what would happen next, other times it dragged and I didn’t pick it back up for a few days.

Another problem was the text did not have quotation marks around the dialog. I find this annoying and it slows down my reading and I read slow enough as it is. I don’t like to work this hard to read a book but I was involved enough in it to want to know the ending. And wouldn’t you know it when I got to what I thought should be the end, the plot twisted and we went off in another direction. I was glad to finally finish this one. I would have ended it 75 pages sooner.

I liked it enough to finish it but I thought it could have been much better.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By John Kwok HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on March 6, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Writing dystopian speculative fiction novels and getting them published are the latest trend in publishing, whether they are Suzanne Collins' "Hunger Games" trilogy, or notable debuts like Peter Heller's "The Dog Stars". Paulette Jiles' "Lighthouse Island" is a very good example of this, especially since it is a dystopian speculative fiction novel written by someone who has little knowledge or understanding of the genre. (An observation which is rather surprising considering that her literary agency represents the likes of Stephen King and Neal Stephenson; Stephenson should be viewed as one of the great speculative fiction writers of our time, while King has made some noteworthy contributions as well.) "Lighthouse Island" is a novel that J. G. Ballard could - and did - write over the course of his distinguished literary career, but, unlike Jiles, gave readers far more plausible dystopian futures rooted well in credible scientific extrapolation, with prose more luminous and lyrical than what Jiles has written. However, to her credit, Jiles has written a compellingly readable love story set in a dystopian future, replete with a memorable heroine, Nadia, who finds herself trapped in a bizarre set of situations reminiscent of those depicted in Terry Gilliam's film "Brazil". I also commend Jiles' referencing of Patrick O'Brian's superb Aubrey/Maturin novels as well as occasional references to J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-Earth. While "Lighthouse Island" pales in comparison with Ballard and Stephenson's best, it is still a novel worthy of attention by a large readership.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Tree Mugger on November 13, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I received an ARC of "Lighthouse Island". I am rather new to reading dystopia so this is most likely my second or third read on the genre. I think I am still getting the hang of it. Other reviewers have defined the plot of the story much better than I can so I will focus on Nadia the main character.

The first couple pages drew me in right away. I felt for this little girl Nadia that had been abandoned and I wanted to follow her life. Her character was an unusual one as she seemed almost emotionless, matter of fact about her life and situation but considering the living structure it would not have been prudent to be an over emotional bemoaning your fate kind of character. Her coping skills were interesting and kind of weirdly fun at times for me to read. She could improvise a lie at the spur of the moment to get her out of danger. She was quick to pick up on cues and situations that would help her escape detection time and time again. Sometimes her escapes had a little help and others it was just plain dumb luck. Her drive to find Lighthouse Island made it my drive to find it with her. I really wanted to know if it existed or not. Nadia never wavered in her belief but I wavered in mine frequently. The author kept us guessing for quite some time on the answer to that question. Nadia definitely kept me reading because I cared about her quest. I would want to find the Lighthouse too.

There are times I found the story fascinating and other times I found it a bit sluggish. I would get really excited about parts then it would slow down and I would have to plod through it. The pacing was not to my liking. The story over all I liked quite well. I'm not so sure I am crazy about the ending because I didn't have the wrap up that I get from other genres.
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