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"Timely . . . a gripping page-turner" — Elle Canada
For those who loved Barbara Kingsolver's Flight Behavior comes a new climate-themed, Shakespeare-inspired novel from bestselling author Catherine Bush.
The time is now or an alternate near now, the world close to our own. A Category Five hurricane sweeps up the eastern seaboard of North America, leaving devastation in its wake, its outer wings brushing over tiny Blaze Island. During this wild night, a stranger washes up on the doorstep of the isolated house where Milan Wells lives with his daughter Miranda.
A climate scientist whose career was destroyed by climate change deniers, Wells has fled to this remote island with his daughter years before, desperate to protect her from the world's worsening weather.
Seemingly safe in her father's realm, Miranda walks the island's rocky shores, helping her father with his daily weather records. But the stranger's arrival breaks open Miranda's world, stirs up memories of events of long ago and compels her to wonder what her father is up to with his mysterious weather experiments. In the aftermath of the storm, she finds herself in a world altered so quickly that she hardly knows what has happened or what the unpredictable future will bring.
"Climate change is both an external and internal phenomenon in Catherine Bush's brilliant new novel, Blaze Island. Set on an island off the coast of Newfoundland, its cast of characters includes a renegade climate scientist and his young daughter Miranda. They are self-made castaways who can't get far enough away from what's chasing them: memories of loss, threats of scandal, and the increasingly dangerous weather itself. The novel is an ever-moving storm of emotion and politics that unfolds under churning skies and life-or-death stakes. Miranda, a young woman on the verge of adulthood and independence, is a marvellous creation and a portrait of a soul in progress. Bush brings together a complicated cast of three-dimensional men and women, all fighting with and against each other in the name of saving the planet ... or making a buck. A tale of greed, hope, and love, it is a beautifully written and provocative novel by one of Canada's best writers."
"Blaze Island is a beautiful, far-seeing, and fiercely intelligent novel about the most critical question of our time — the weather systems that threaten to collapse us both from outside and from within. Catherine Bush writes like she is our last storm watcher, and Blaze Island, her urgent panoramic of our fragile world. Every sentence has the lush exactitude of a poem, and the book, as it stuns and pivots, the stampeding heart of a thriller."
"Blaze Island is a fascinating and prescient story. With climate change as the backdrop, Catherine Bush’s lyrical portrait of the northern island landscape and a young woman’s passion for the land offers a frightening warning of how big business will surely adapt to the changes to benefit itself. Bush’s story is compelling — we watch the hurricane unfold, as only a brilliant writer can show us — and offers a moving and soulful primer for climate survival. "
"Riveting and morally complex, Blaze Island is a beautiful, kaleidoscopic work that offers a resounding reply to the question of how literature might wrestle with the deepest threat facing the planet, anthropogenic climate change. In the absence of saviours and easy consolation, what Bush has created is an allegory of hubris and humility and an exhilarating space in which to re-imagine multi-species relationships and stories."
"Bush’s Blaze Island is a fierce box of wind. Open its cover and you feel at once the fury of the weather to come, the future of the planet in novel form."
"In the famous end of The Tempest, Prospero asks that the audience free him and the other characters from the dream of the play. Blaze Island amounts to a similar request. To deny or ignore our changing world is to stay willfully dreaming."
"Catherine Bush's cast of characters roam Blaze Island after a storm of mythical strength, amid a welter of blown off roofs, smashed windows, sunken vehicles, blazing desire and destruction. Bush's prose is a lightning storm in the dark of climate crisis, gothic, forceful and beautifully intimate. Here is the majesty and awe of unleashed nature and we are caught in the grip. Swept away. This novel is sublime."