Release date: December 6, 2022
Florida is slipping away. As devastating weather patterns and rising sea levels gradually wreak havoc on the state’s infrastructure, a powerful hurricane approaches a small town on the southeastern coast. Kirby Lowe, an electrical line worker; his pregnant wife, Frida; and their two sons, Flip and Lucas, prepare for the worst. When the boys go missing just before the hurricane hits, Kirby heads out into the high winds to search for them. Left alone, Frida goes into premature labor and gives birth to an unusual child, Wanda, whom she names after the catastrophic storm that ushers her into a society closer to collapse than ever before.
As Florida continues to unravel, Wanda grows. Moving from childhood to adulthood, adapting not only to the changing landscape, but also to the people who stayed behind in a place abandoned by civilization, Wanda loses family, gains community, and ultimately, seeks adventure, love, and purpose in a place remade by nature.
This smart novel is a terrifying look into what our future on this planet could be. It scared me. I’m not sure I’ve ever been so thoroughly scared by a novel. Lily Brooks-Dalton does an incredible job of creating this reality that I can so easily picture us running into. I found myself wondering while reading how she was able to so thoroughly explore the details of losing an entire state to the climate crisis. The abandonment, the deaths, the loneliness–Brooks-Dalton embedded these into the writing so seamlessly.
So no, this one won’t cure your climate anxiety, but she still leaves the reader with a little bit of hope. The theme of adaptability in humans was so beautifully interwoven into this tale of despair. Seeing Wanda’s story grow and change with the climate and the rising sea was both dark and hopeful.
It was also one of the things that was most intriguing to me–how Brooks-Dalton shows the passing of time. The story spans generations, and Brooks-Dalton uses her writing to show the evolution of the human mind as it ages and in the context of the surroundings. I’ve never read a novel that captures the beauty and devastation of human life in such a gorgeous way.
I was speechless after finishing this one, and I can’t say much more other than to laud the emotion and depth Brooks-Dalton put into this story.
Thank you to NetGalley and Grand Central Publishing, who sent an eARC in exchange for an honest review.