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3.58  ·  Rating details ·  86 ratings  ·  16 reviews
In the not-too-distant future, thirty-seven-year-old Sandy lives a challenging and unfamiliar life. She survives by fishing, farming, and beekeeping on an isolated island with her partner, Marvin, and friend, Thomson. When the footprints of a thieving child start appearing in their garden, the family must come together to protect both the child and their fragile community. ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published September 17th 2013 by Brindle & Glass
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Average rating 3.58  · 
Rating details
 ·  86 ratings  ·  16 reviews

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Oct 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This was just a damn fine piece of fiction. I was initially interested when the Toronto Star posted a review calling it dystopian sci-fi, but it was much more than that. A story of futuristic survival, sure, but one with such realistic characters and beautiful, tragic writing that it transcends the genre. Highly recommended.
Ruth Linka
Jun 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the most memorable manuscripts I've read in a long time. I didn't even think I'd like it, as I'm not keen on 'futuristic' or 'dystopian' stories. But, because the world is much like ours is now, and could be our world soon, it didn't feel like a robots-gone-bad kind of future. The characters are people we know and just find themselves in a situation unfamiliar to them (and to us). And how they make it work, how they not only survive but continue to build community and live good ...more
'Swarm' was really middle of the road for me. This is a genre I love, and I especially love realistic takes on how food production and survival would work after a societal collapse. And I love beekeeping! So I wanted to love Swarm, but I didn't.

Lauren Carter is a good writer - a lot of her prose sections were really great. Unfortunately, I think her biggest weakness is characters. There were several I liked, primarily Pheonix and Thomson, but most of them didn't grip me at all, and I think when
Scott Overton
Nov 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Swarm is a story of our own society only a few years from now after the collapse has begun (from the end of oil, climate change—take your pick). Lauren Carter juxtaposes two time streams in the main character’s life with great effect, deepening the impact of both storylines with their parallels and counterpoints. Swarm also has the depth of characterization we expect from literary fiction with a setting from dystopian science fiction. Some will compare it to Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam series, ...more
Aaron Shepard
Jun 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A dystopian novel about a not-improbably future. I enjoyed the low-key nature of the story. Instead of a grandiose vision of destruction, we see characters clinging to the little details that mean the difference between mere survival and actually living - family, human connection, honesty, compassion and so forth. A great ending, too.
Alex McGilvery
May 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Lauren Carter
Brindle and Glass Publishing

Swarm follows Sandy as she and her partner Marvin and their friend Thomson struggle to survive on an island. The novel weaves from past to future to show Sandy’s story. On the island a mysterious girl is taking food from their already meagre stores. Marvin has no sympathy for the girl. They don’t have enough for themselves. Yet, Sandy dreams of being a mother. She desires the opportunity to do impossible mother and daughter things in a world that no
Aug 15, 2013 rated it liked it
I liked the book, but it kind of made me sad too. Not because of the post-apocalyptic future where everything has fallen to dust. That was interesting. To be honest, my favorite parts were on the island with just the everyday minutiae of life and how it goes on, even in the darkest of times.

What I didn't care for were the scenes from the city. I didn't care for young Sandy. She was so clueless and naive... I can forgive a little, but having watched her parents lose everything, you'd think she
Lara Stoudt
May 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Swarm is an intelligent and moving narrative. The topic is relevant and the story has lessons to teach. Lauren paints her characters brilliantly and I know a good book when I am sad when I come to the end. I highly recommend.
Feb 29, 2016 added it
Shelves: 2016
Some beautiful writing in this and a great structure.

I had to read it in fits and starts because of circumstances beyond my control.
Nov 26, 2014 rated it it was ok
Clean and affecting prose in the service of a group of characters about whom I found I couldn't really care.
Jun 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: post-apocalyptic
For a lover of post-apocalyptic novels, it’s rare for me to be so disappointed as to not finish the book. Ultimately I found the trope of the book being addressed to a phantom child annoying and kind of unbelievable, although it started out fun. I did not like any of the characters in the alternating “City“ sections, including Sandy. As other reviewer‘s have pointed out, the most interesting character in the book is Phoenix but by the time I was 3/4 of the way through the book I had lost ...more
Aug 31, 2019 rated it did not like it
I left the book in a hotel in Orvieto, locked away in the drawer of an antique writing desk. Someone may cherish the find, but it was a tough read for me. It had everything to do with the mysterious little girl who went from figment of the imagination to real human being, and then back again. I had greater problems with the narrative. Carter's flashbacks went in all directions, so that the reader spent more time guessing the time period than appreciating the characters she was sculpting. If the ...more
Aug 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful book about a young woman trying to make sense of the dystopian world she finds herself in, trying to survive physically and emotionally, connecting with others, forging relationships and trying to find herself and her way in this strange new world. The author skillfully weaves the story through glimpses of the past (our world as we know it), the gradual global decline, the malignant growth of rebellion, shocking decay, acts of defiance, and the reality of the struggle for survival in ...more
Jennifer Farquhar
May 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A beautifully written and relatable novel about life after peak oil. Walking through the grocery store after reading Swarm, I felt so grateful for all that we have at our fingertips---oranges from Spain, noodles from Japan, a mini-computer in everyone's pocket, and so aware of how quickly we could lose it all and return to a pre-industrial society. Looking forward to reading Lauren Carter's next book.
Sep 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Really well written, with a mysterious undertone of past occurrences, as protagonist Sandy struggles to survive in a dystopian world.
Nov 02, 2013 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this more but found it a bit of a chore.
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Lauren Carter is the author of four books: the forthcoming novel This Has Nothing to Do with You and her debut novel Swarm, which was longlisted for CBC Canada Reads, as well as the poetry collections Following Sea and Lichen Bright. Her work has also appeared in anthologies, including 15: Best Canadian Stories (edited by John Metcalf) and the forthcoming Voicing Suicide (Ekstasis Editions). She ...more
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