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The Lightkeepers: A Novel por Abby Geni
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The Lightkeepers: A Novel (original 2016; edição 2016)

por Abby Geni (Autor)

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2652179,446 (3.95)20
"In The Lightkeepers, we follow Miranda, a nature photographer who travels to the Farallon Islands, an exotic and dangerous archipelago off the coast of California, for a one-year residency capturing the landscape. Her only companions are the scientists studying there, odd and quirky refugees from the mainland living in rustic conditions; they document the fish populations around the island, the bold trio of sharks called the Sisters that hunt the surrounding waters, and the overwhelming bird population who, at times, create the need to wear hard hats as protection from their attacks. Shortly after her arrival, Miranda is assaulted by one of the inhabitants of the islands. A few days later, her assailant is found dead, perhaps the result of an accident. As the novel unfolds, Miranda gives witness to the natural wonders of this special place as she grapples with what has happened to her and deepens her connection (and her suspicions) to her companions, while falling under the thrall of the legends of the place nicknamed "the Islands of the Dead." And when more violence occurs, each member of this strange community falls under suspicion. The Lightkeepers upends the traditional structure of a mystery novel -an isolated environment, a limited group of characters who might not be trustworthy, a death that may or may not have been accidental, a balance of discovery and action -while also exploring wider themes of the natural world, the power of loss, and the nature of recovery. It is a luminous debut novel from a talented and provocative new writer. "--… (mais)
Membro:hggilbert
Título:The Lightkeepers: A Novel
Autores:Abby Geni (Autor)
Informação:Counterpoint (2016), Edition: First Trade Paper, 368 pages
Colecções:A sua biblioteca
Avaliação:***
Etiquetas:Nenhum(a)

Informação Sobre a Obra

The Lightkeepers por Abby Geni (2016)

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The Lightkeepers is the debut novel of Abby Geni. It was published in 2016.

It’s an extraordinary piece of work. The narrator, Miranda, is a freelance nature photographer who has secured a residency to stay with a group of biologists on the Farallon Islands – an archipelago thirty miles off the coast, near San Francisco.

The author paints a vivid picture of this godforsaken place. I checked photos on Wikipedia and the place looked just like I imagined it from Geni’s description. A beautiful, brutal, treacherous, rockscape. A remote island where no totally sane person would ever choose to stay. A clue as to the narrator’s stability is that she describes the awfulness of this place and concludes that of all the locales she has traveled to, this is her favorite.

The story is told by Miranda through a series of letters she writes to her mother who died when she was 14. It is a unique perspective. Essentially, a first person narrative, but told in “real time.” The narrator doesn’t know what’s going to happen next. And sometimes it would appear she doesn’t remember what happened before. Sort of like the character in the film, Memento.

It’s organized into four seasons: Shark, Whale, Seal and Bird. If you had Disney-like notions about how animals conduct their affairs this book will dispel them. I will never look at gulls quite the same again. Or seals.

This is a multi-layered mystery story and even after everything is revealed, I still don’t have all the answers, except this one from the narrator:

“There are two kinds of people in the world: Eggers and Lightkeepers. Eggers (former residents of the island who looted the island of its seabird eggs) who take what they can, consequences be damned. And Lightkeepers who take what they need. Eggers want to have, Lightkeepers want to be.”

Great story. Highly recommended.
( )
  LenJoy | Mar 14, 2021 |
"The Lightkeepers" is set in the Farallon Islands, about thirty miles off the coast of San Francisco.
Mostly made of jagged rock jutting out of the sea, the islands and the waters that crash about them, are occupied mostly by migratory wildlife, there to breed, feed and move on.

The Farallon Islands are a Wildlife Refuge, off-limits to people except for a small team of scientists who observe and record the lives, deaths and births of creatures on the islands.

Abbi Geni uses this setting to tell the story that is as stark, unforgiving and alien as the Farallon Islands themselves.

At the heart of the story is Miranda, a nature photographer, who has convinced the powers that be to let her spend a year on the island, living amongst the wildlife obsessed biologists, capturing the spirit of the island and its animal population on film.

Yes, I did say her name was Miranda, although almost no-one on the island calls her that, and yes, of course you're supposed to be reminded of "The Tempest" and that "brave new world that has such people in it" and spend time slowly working out who is Prospero and who is Caliban. It's that kind of book for that kind of reader.

I'm not going to give details of the story here, as this is a book where the process of revelation and reconsideration is central the to the enjoyment that it brings, so I will focus on the writing and the structure and the impact that the book had on me.

The first thing to say was that, even when I was least pleased with the book, I found it mesmerising, partly because narrative contains many compelling images that filled my imagination instantly and totally in the way that a good photograph will and partly because I couldn't resist twisting these images in my mind, as if they were a Rubric's Cube that, with persistent manipulation, would yield a coherent pattern.

The struggle for pattern and meaning is central to the structure of "The Lightkeepers". Miranda is perhaps the most unreliable narrator I have ever encountered. She reveals her story in fragments, in the form of letters that she writes compulsively to her dead mother but never posts.

Over time I started to realise that Miranda sees clearly only when she is looking through the lens of her camera and even then it took me a while to realise that the sometimes brutal scenes of strut, rut, violent struggle and pointless death that she documents in the wildlife around her are, in part, attempt to tell herself her own story. Miranda cannot easily confront what has happened to her and what her actions say about her true nature, so she frames her world with with photographs and paragraphs, simultaneously displaying and obscuring the truths that only her sub-conscious mind grasps.

Miranda is as lost and in as much distress as any of the creatures whose struggles to survive and thrive the biologists record but never interfere with. The curious, detached passion of the biologists, the habit of mind that allows them to observe without ever interfering, creates an atmosphere that leaves Miranda more isolated than if she where completely alone on the island.

The unconventional narrative form of "The Lightkeepers" and its emotionally turbulent content, challenges the reader to focus and find meaning; to allow ourselves to see what is there to be seen and not to look away or to deny what has happened and what it means just because it is unpleasant. We are asked to become observers like, the biologists, noting the details and building a picture of the true natures of those we observe.We are also invited to question that passive stance and to take sides and pass judgment.The offer to observe is subtle and skilful. The offer to judge, which happens towards the end of the book, seemed clumsy and contrived by comparison. I found the attempt to divide the world into Lightkeepers, who uphold civilisation, and eggers, who a driven by greed, disappointingly simple.

The end of the book disappointed me, not by its content but by the way it was told The ending felt grafted on. The point of view shifted to another character, the Prospero of the novel, who acted as a kind of Chorus, knitting the loose threads together in a tight, neat pattern and spitting out the moral of the tale. Except, of course, Prospero is also an unreliable narrator so one is left with room to doubt.

Xe Sands does an outstanding job of narration. Click on the link below to hear a sample.

https://soundcloud.com/audiofilemagazine/the-lightkeepers-by-abby-geni-read-by-x... ( )
  MikeFinnFiction | May 16, 2020 |
I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. A book set on a remote California island with quirky—alright strange naturalists and a nature photography….nope not my style. Once I started I couldn’t put it down, It is a story of the relationships, good and bad between a group of people forced to live together in a very small area. It was great reading. Wonderful descriptions of the challenging physical geography of the island created vivid pictures in my head. ( )
  brangwinn | Aug 15, 2019 |
Miranda is nature photographer who has traveled all over the world, and her assignment, this time, is on the Farallon Islands, outside of the coast of California. She is there to stay for 1 year. The only other people on the island are scientists studying the fish and bird population around and on the island. Through letters to her deceased mother, we get the full story about what happens during the year.

This book took me by surprise! I started to read this book a while ago, couldn't get into it. Only managed a couple of pages. Picked up where I left the other day and the story just floored me! it's not a very cheerful story, but it's captivating.

I think that reading a book through letters is an interesting choice, and it gave the book a very special way of retelling what happened on the island. For one thing, Miranda is writing letters to her mother that did when she was a teenager and it's a way for her to communicate with her mother and throughout the book one realize that Miranda has never really been able to let her mother go, to get on with her life. She has spent her life moving around the world, writing letters that no one will read. But on Farallon Island will actions against her and things she does change everything for her.

The writing is superb, it draws you into the story. One can really feel the isolation on the island. The harsh world. The merciless world. And, the loneliness there, despite the little group of people. I would never manage a year out there, well not without a pile of books at least.

I was really impressed with the book and I want to read more by Abby Geni.

4.5 stars

I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy through Edelweiss for an honest review! ( )
  MaraBlaise | May 19, 2019 |
I read this as a "quick, light" read.

However, light - it is not.

An interesting book describing life among researchers on a desolate island with interesting descriptions of natural life and landscape of the island.

The human story however is dark. I am not sure what I think about it. ( )
  yhgail | Feb 20, 2019 |
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"In The Lightkeepers, we follow Miranda, a nature photographer who travels to the Farallon Islands, an exotic and dangerous archipelago off the coast of California, for a one-year residency capturing the landscape. Her only companions are the scientists studying there, odd and quirky refugees from the mainland living in rustic conditions; they document the fish populations around the island, the bold trio of sharks called the Sisters that hunt the surrounding waters, and the overwhelming bird population who, at times, create the need to wear hard hats as protection from their attacks. Shortly after her arrival, Miranda is assaulted by one of the inhabitants of the islands. A few days later, her assailant is found dead, perhaps the result of an accident. As the novel unfolds, Miranda gives witness to the natural wonders of this special place as she grapples with what has happened to her and deepens her connection (and her suspicions) to her companions, while falling under the thrall of the legends of the place nicknamed "the Islands of the Dead." And when more violence occurs, each member of this strange community falls under suspicion. The Lightkeepers upends the traditional structure of a mystery novel -an isolated environment, a limited group of characters who might not be trustworthy, a death that may or may not have been accidental, a balance of discovery and action -while also exploring wider themes of the natural world, the power of loss, and the nature of recovery. It is a luminous debut novel from a talented and provocative new writer. "--

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813.6 — Literature English (North America) American fiction 21st Century

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