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Lighthouse Island

3.24  ·  Rating Details ·  561 Ratings  ·  164 Reviews
The bestselling author of the highly praised novels The Color of Lightning, Stormy Weather, and Enemy Women pushes into new territory with this captivating and atmospheric story set in the far future-a literary dystopian tale resonant with love and hope

In the coming centuries the world's population has exploded and covered the earth with cities, animals are nearly all gone
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published October 8th 2013 by William Morrow (first published September 17th 2013)
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Jul 02, 2013 Melki rated it it was ok
Shelves: dystopian
This used to be called Kansas City but now it's just city most of the way to Denver and we are called Gerrymander Eight.

And where did the animals all go?

We ate them, he said. And we took up all their space. Except for the rats, mice, and the hardier sort of bird.

He said, Always, always hide food. Never, never sign anything.

The US is now just one continuous, bleak urban landscape from sea to polluted sea. There has never been more of a gap between the haves and have-nots. People are taken from th
Feb 24, 2017 Lisa rated it it was ok
Some of this was good, some of this was utterly unreadable. It was mostly a slog and it really didn't have to be. This is a poor book that could have been a fair to decent book with the help of a good editor. I also made the mistake of reading the author's goodreads profile halfway through it. She only has three reviews but here's one of them: I hate that she refers to the character in her review as "a retard, it's not 'Flowers For Algernon' but a truly ...more
Dan Barr
Jul 04, 2013 Dan Barr rated it it was ok
Shelves: first-reads
**Note: This review is based on an advanced reader's copy**
If I were to suggest a better title for this book, it would be Padding, because that's what this book is, pages and pages of padding. I get that setting is important, but the majority of the words in this book are the same descriptions of the same dusty, forlorn streets of a continent-sized city populated by the same dusty, forlorn citizens. Maybe I'm old fashioned, but I believe that the plot of a book is more important than the setting
Aug 05, 2013 Maria rated it liked it
Shelves: did-not-finish
I obtained an ARC of LIGHTHOUSE ISLAND through a Goodreads giveaway -- thanks Goodreads and HarperCollins!

Paulette Jiles describes herself as a "poet and memoirist", and I think her skills really rang through quite beautifully in LIGHTHOUSE ISLAND. I found myself underlining the most beautifully constructed passages, and running out of ink in the first few chapters.

The plot, however, was not nearly as gripping as the writing. Nadia is a nearly-blind orphan living in a dystopia set about 150 year
Linda Blake
Feb 15, 2014 Linda Blake rated it really liked it
This novel does what good science fiction should do: it makes the reader think about how the current problems may affect the future. Nadia is trapped in a near-future dictatorial society where food and water are scarce and people are tuned to reality-like tv programming. The novel is chockfull of odd and interesting characters and thoughtful ruminations.
Jul 01, 2013 Megan rated it it was ok
[Disclaimer: I received a copy of the ARC from the Goodreads Giveaways]

I'm giving this 2 stars instead of 3 because it was just okay for me. I didn't love it, I didn't hate it, I mostly just wanted to read it and be done with it. I had a major problem with the lack of quotation marks in the dialogue because I had a very hard time figuring out when a character was speaking and when the narration ended and became dialogue.

Style-wise, again, it was just okay. There was too much exposition, and it t
In this dystopian novel, the world's population has exploded, megacities have formed, borders have been erased, numbered years are a thing of the past, and what remains of the water supply is dirty and in short supply. It is in this world that Nadia Stepan was abandoned in the street by her parents when she was just four. During her time in orphanages, she hears of a place called Lighthouse Island, a place she believes to be like a paradise. Once out on her own, she is determined to find her way ...more
Sep 25, 2013 Kammie rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I am looking forward to reading this, but the premise of the book seems a little out there. I am interested to see how the author pulls this off! Should be a good book to check out...
Beth (fuelled by fiction)
It took me a long time and a lot of reflection before I could write this review. The book left me feeling unsure. I really wanted to like it—it had a lot of really good elements. However, it took me a while to determine what I thought of it.

The setting is really excellent. It’s the future. There is little water, and it has to be strictly rationed. The world has become overpopulated, cities expanding and expanding until they almost touch one another. America is now essentially one giant city. We
Kathleen (Kat) Smith
Imagine a world in the future. A world that has become so densely populated that green spaces no longer exist. They are now the product of advertisements to work towards using the credits you earn in hopes of visiting a place that only exists far from where you live now. Cities have developed so much due to the over population of people that any space is used to build on. Animals have all died out due to disease or simply being hunted to extinction. Now only the wealthy and rich have a handful o ...more
Jun 10, 2013 Brittany rated it liked it
Recommends it for: 1984, Children of Men, dystopian fans
How I Came To Read This Book: I got a digital ARC from Edelweiss.

The Plot: The book is set approximately 150 years into the future from where we are right now. The earth is going through a major drought period, and a dystopian world where water is the most precious commodity, people are glued to their television sets, state lines are blurred through a neverending expanse of city and the poor are severely limited by the mighty is the reality that Raisa is abandoned in, when her parents desert her
Feb 18, 2014 Alan rated it it was amazing
Paulette Jiles paints a rich view of a bleak picture of life in our possible future.

Couple unlimited human population growth with decreasing water supplies, and you get a world where in most cases there is not enough water pressure to reach higher than 4 stories. This ,means that cities can no longer build up, they have to build out. Urban centers sprawl and merge. Mega-mega cities are the result. Rivers, lakes, aquifers, and groundwater are consumed. There are no longer any natural or wild land
Sep 21, 2013 Thien-Kim rated it liked it
As someone who loves speculative and dystopian fiction, I was pretty excited to read Lighthouse Island by Paulette Jiles. I know that this genre is rather popular within the YA category, but I prefer more in depth world building, back story and character development. Jiles does not skimp on the character development or world building in her novel.

In the future, the planet’s population has outgrown its resources and water is a scarce commodity. The amount of water a person receives correlates to
Mar 20, 2015 Suzan rated it really liked it
Firstly I have to say, the lack of quotation marks to delineate dialogue drove me absolutely nuts!!!!! I know this isn't always a problem because the lack of punctuation in Cold Mountain didn't bother me. When I read Cold Mountain with a reading group, I remember some of the folks in my group were really out off by the lack of punctuation and I remember being puzzled, how could that keep you from loving the book? In this book however, I finally understood their complaints, here it only served to ...more
Jun 14, 2015 Debbie rated it it was amazing
I decided to bump up my rating of this book to 5 stars. Ever since I read it, I've been unable to get this story out of my mind. It reminds me a lot of the Pulitzer-Prize winning "All the Light We Cannot See." There's a blind girl, big Radio, a dystopian setting that is very similar to Nazi Germany and gorgeous prose. (No surprise that Paulette Jiles is a poet.)
In this future world, the population has exploded and the United States is an endless city. There are very few animals left, and drough
The Book
Sep 13, 2013 The Book rated it it was amazing
This story was intriguing and frightening at the same time for me. You're immediately pulled into a world that could possibly be a glimpse of our future. Water shortages, drought, extinction, government issues all play a role in this eye-opening thriller. The writing style was very different from what I'm used to, but it worked well with the story as a whole.

Nadia was a girl after my own heart, I say this because her character loves to read books. This is the main reason for her character's dri
Tom Donaghey
Sep 19, 2013 Tom Donaghey rated it it was ok
Lighthouse Island is not so much a novel as it is a long form poem. Set in the future perhaps 150 years hence, it follows Nadia and her journey from a seemingly endless city and the cruelly idiotic powers that hold sway over every aspect of life, across the seemingly endless super-cityscape, the hinterlands and off to the near mythic Lighthouse Island of the title. Along the nearly interminable journey she meets several characters, has perilous adventures, falls in love with a wheelchair bound ...more
Tamra Karl
Apr 12, 2014 Tamra Karl rated it it was amazing
What makes this a 5 star for me? It was so engaging that I came out of my reading disoriented, as if I had literally come from Jiles' world back into my own and had to get my bearings again. I love it when authors write as if their readers are intelligent. Jiles wrote with great detail, so that alien scenes came to life, but didn't feel the need to tell me everything tediously. Through all the depravity of the world in Lighthouse Island, human resilience shines though sometimes tentatively. My o ...more
Jul 02, 2013 Brody rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Thanks to a First Reads giveaway, I was able to receive an advanced copy of Lighthouse Island: A Novel. I enjoyed reading this book a lot. It took quite some time for me to get used to the writing style though. Soon after, I started to like the way it was written out. Overall I was pleased with this book. This was an interesting and different style of writing for me, but it was definitely worth the read.
Mar 23, 2015 Art rated it it was ok
Well, I tried. Made it through about 50 pages before I had to put it down. Really didn't like the writing style on this one. Maybe because it was written from the point of view of a youth? Maybe. I am not sure but it didn't capture my interest.

Sorry Dan, I know you enjoyed it.
May 09, 2017 Lynn rated it really liked it
If you enjoy futuristic dystonian novels, this is a good read. The main character is Nadia Stepan who is essentially abandoned by her parents when she is 4, at a time when the world population has exploded, there are no countries but areas maintained by agencies and everything is regulated-electricity, food rations and water. But Nadia is a clever, resourceful girl who believes that if she can make it to Lighthouse Island in the Pacific Northwest, she will find her parents. By chance she meets J ...more
Jan 22, 2014 Dorothy rated it it was ok
Shelves: dystopian, 2014
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 02, 2017 Sheri rated it liked it
A dystopian future awaits the reader of this book. Jiles relies too heavily on one coincidence after another to make her complicated plot work. I much prefer her historical fiction set shortly after the Civil War in the western territories.
Aug 18, 2014 Jill rated it really liked it
I was immediately swept into the world of this creatively different post-apocalytic dystopian reverie for adults.

As with many post-apocalyptic scenarios, the world has been decimated by unsupportable levels of population growth, environmental devastation, decline of education and technology, urban wars and perhaps most central to this story, “the ineradicable fungus of bureaucratic jargon.” And you have to love how political districts are now referred to as Gerrymanders.

In this shady world where
J Edward Tremlett
Sep 18, 2013 J Edward Tremlett rated it really liked it
In the future, there will be no past. No one knows what year it is, or what has caused the world to dry up and crack apart as it has. They only know that water is rationed out of the tap, and that hoarding is a crime — one that can get you arrested on mere suspicion.

In the future, there will be no present. No one knows where they are, exactly, as the states and cities are gone. There are only Gerrymanders filled with massive city-slums, all being demolished one building at a time to conserve wat
Reeka (BoundbyWords)
As seen on my blog:

Adult Dystopia. What a hell of a thing to anticipate reading about. All I've known of the genre comes from cookie-cutter teen narratives that more times than not, border on the highly ridiculous. Lighthouse Island was not of the 'highly ridiculous' variety, but it was definitely a whole set of other adjectives that I'd rather not use when describing a book: confusing, disjointed, jumbled, and overly-descriptive. I found a simple solace in Jiles' beautiful prose, but her str
Lighthouse Island is as much about Nadia’s escape from the brutal cityscape as it is about mankind’s perpetual fight against repression and the absurd. Humans will tolerate dictatorships in the guise of benevolent and well-meaning governments for only so long before something happens that changes their minds. What is particularly interesting is the mindset shift between acceptance and revolt, how slowly it happens in some and how quickly in others. Nadia might not be able to recognize the clues, ...more
Lori L (She Treads Softly)
Aug 31, 2014 Lori L (She Treads Softly) rated it really liked it
Lighthouse Island by Paulette Jilesis a highly recommended (with a codicil) dystopian novel set in the future.

The earth is an endless, borderless city where water is scare and people are disposable. Lighthouse Island opens: "The winds carried dust to every part of the great cities; left it on roofs and windowsills and uneven streets. It scoured glass to an iridescent glaze. The city covered the entire earth, if people think of the earth as 'where I live.'”(Page 1) "As far as anyone knew, the wor
J.G. Follansbee
Nov 24, 2013 J.G. Follansbee rated it really liked it
Shelves: climate-fiction
This review first appeared on Joe Follansbee's blog.

I can measure how well I like a book by how hard I have to push myself to take it up again after putting it down. I finish a chapter or two, do something else, see the book on the table, and check its literary magnetism. Is it beckoning me to open it again right now? The first third of Paulette Jiles’ new novel, Lighthouse Island, had a weak pull. But I stuck with it, partly because I promised the publisher that I’d post a review on my blog in
April (The Steadfast Reader)
Review first appeared on The Steadfast Reader

I was thrilled to be reading a literary dystopia. I've always loved literary dystopias and quite frankly, I'm more than bored with the drivel coming out of the YA leg of the genre. Lighthouse Island is beautifully written but unfortunately it's only relatively enjoyable.

The characters are likable enough, but during the novel, some of the situations that they get themselves out of feel a bit unbelievable. I feel like Nadia should have died at least tw
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Paulette Jiles is an American poet and novelist. Born in Salem, Missouri, she was educated at the University of Missouri with a degree in Romance Lanugages. Jiles lives in the Texas Hill Country on a small ranch.

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