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Lighthouse Island

3.23 of 5 stars 3.23  ·  rating details  ·  415 ratings  ·  139 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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The Valley of Amazement by Amy TanMaddAddam by Margaret AtwoodJim Henson by Brian Jay JonesSisterland by Curtis SittenfeldThe Maid's Version by Daniel Woodrell
Kirkus Reviews Magazine July 15 2013
6th out of 19 books — 21 voters
Enemy Women by Paulette JilesWaterloo Express by Paulette JilesCelestial Navigation by Paulette JilesThe Golden Hawks by Paulette JilesSitting in the Club Car Drinking Rum and Karma-Kola by Paulette Jiles
Best of Paulette Jiles
15th out of 15 books — 1 voter

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Community Reviews

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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
Dan Barr
**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
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
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
Linda Blake
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.
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...
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
[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
The Book
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
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 17, 2013 Brittany rated it 3 of 5 stars
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
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
Tom Donaghey
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
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
There’s no breezing through this one! This book immediately pulled me into the premise of an intense future in which the human race has overbuilt, overused, and overpopulated the earth. Endless cities overlap borders, states no longer have boundaries, and the planet is portioned and labeled by Gerrymander numbers. Each revelation brings to light consequences beyond general speculation, to which I found myself saying, ‘Oh my gosh, I never considered that!’ Current trends and concerns are taken to ...more
Lori L (She Treads Softly)
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
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
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
Barb Terpstra
I am conflicted on how I feel about this book. I struggled to get through the first seven chapters, but I kept going because the review I read talked about the beautiful prose. I am a huge fan of beautiful prose. At Chapter 7, I was still waiting for it. I persevered though. On Chapter 13 I had to force myself to put the book down so I could go back to work. Still, for me, the book is really between 3 and 4 stars.

The beginning chapters describe the current world. If it was a movie, I would compa
This book was on the "recommended by staff" table at my local library and I'm really glad I took it home. This story really resonated with me. Paulette Jiles has something important to say to her fellow humans about how we can overcome alienation, apathy, fear and powerlessness in our time—which is much closer to the dystopian reality portrayed in Lighthouse Island than the majority of Americans would care to admit. This story's bleak, post "Urban Wars" setting is all too plausible, given today' ...more
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
In a world where cities have combined to one major metropolis, and the rivers have run dry the world is run in a very strange manner -- skyscrapers are demolished, and people are shoved from one region to another without much thought. Criminals are sent to the cactus farms. In this landscape, five year old Raisa is abandoned by her parents to be an orphan, and tell her to always look to the north to find them.

She, a blind orphan who eventually regains her eyesight, spends most of her time readin
A Very Good, Not Great, Mainstream Literary Dystopian Novel

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
This book is rich with descriptions. From the overpopulation, to the all seeing government and also the thirst of not just the people, but the land itself, this book is full of fantastic imagery. The journey undertaken in this book was a noble journey of trying to find someplace to escape to, someplace that is surely better than here. And along this journey, there were many colorful characters, mostly helpful. So, I think what bothered me about this book is two fold. Including the main character ...more
Nadine Keels
Aug 11, 2014 Nadine Keels marked it as did-a-little-reading  ·  review of another edition
Granted, I haven't much experience with dystopian stories outside of The Giver and Animal Farm, but I wanted a change of pace from my current reading lineup, and this novel caught my attention through 1) the "love" and "hope" in its book description, 2) the mention of the Pacific Northwest, where I'm from, 3) the name of the heroine, Nadia, a variation of my own name, and 4) the fact that Nadia reads a lot of classic books.

Much of the novel's language is beautiful, but somewhere in the midst of
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.
The United States is one big city separated into gerrymanders, with police culling the overpopulation with overt violence for the smallest of infractions. There's little water, and the government regulates everything. Nadia, an orphan who is put on the arrest list after having an affair with her boss, decides to walk to Lighthouse Island, a resort she saw on television as a child but that also really exists--the resort is modeled after the real thing. In her walk across the city, the runs into J ...more
Paulette Jiles is one of my favourite poets, and this novel is a work of poetic prose, wonderful language and mystic imaginings. Also a cautionary tale of a frighteningly possible future on an overpopulated world which has degenerated into "...the ineradicable fungus of bureaucratic jargon." While our heroine Nadia is "voyaging to love in a time of officialdom." I love all the subtle references to literature in this world bereft of books, where a kind of reality TV has hypnotized the population. ...more
Nadia Stepan is born into a future dystopian US, where after the population exploded and cities popped up on every available square inch of earth drought seized the land. Most animals are extinct, only a few crops can be grown, and water is issued by the quart. Nadia is abandoned by her parents at the age of 4 with only a scrap of paper with some constellations drawn on it. She is shuttled from orphanage to foster home with little hope of a better life. But, Nadia is convinced that if she can ge ...more
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
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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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