SYNOPSIS: 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.
GENRE: Fiction, Mystery
FAVORITE QUOTE: "To remember is to rewrite. To photograph is to replace. The only reliable memories, I suppose, are the ones that have been forgotten. They are the dark rooms of the mind. Unopened, untouchedm and uncorrupted."
RATING: 5/5 stars. Many many many stars!
REVIEW: Where to start?
I. Loved. This. Novel.
It was beautfiful and tragic. Mysterious and mercurial. Breathtaking and treacherous.
One of the best debut novels I have ever read.
The author's voice and style was wonderful. Short sentences that managed a seductive narrative without sounding clipped or harsh. Yet the words were still powerful and picturesque, while also retaining a sublety and slow build. Where I can see that this more subdued writing could bore certain readers, I found it very compelling.
The cast of characters are are all dark edges and bursts of light that keep you guessing their motives and intentions. The biologist's work is fascinating and Miranda's views of them is another layer of study for the reader.