"Geni's character–driven environmental thriller—think Silent Spring by way of Celeste Ng—centers on the survivors of a tornado that destroys an Oklahoma farm and kills the family's father." —O, The Oprah Magazine
When a Category Five tornado ravaged Mercy, Oklahoma, no family in the small town lost more than the McClouds. Their home and farm were instantly demolished, and orphaned siblings Darlene, Jane, and Cora made media headlines. This relentless national attention in the tornado’s aftermath caused great tension with their brother, Tucker, who soon abandoned his sisters and disappeared.
On the three–year anniversary of the tornado, a bomb explodes in a cosmetics factory outside of Mercy, and the lab animals trapped within are released. Tucker reappears, injured from the blast, and seeks the help of nine–year–old Cora. Caught up in the thrall of her charismatic brother, whom she has desperately missed, Cora agrees to accompany Tucker on a cross–country mission to make war on human civilization.
Cora becomes her brother’s unwitting accomplice, taking on a new identity while engaging in acts of escalating violence. Darlene works with Mercy police to find her siblings, leading to an unexpected showdown at a zoo in Southern California. The Wildlands is another remarkable literary thriller from critically acclaimed writer Abby Geni, one that examines what happens when one family becomes trapped in the tenuous space between the human and animal worlds.
A nature photographer’s residency among the harsh natural beauty of the Farallon Islands takes a startlingly violent turn in this debut eco-thriller with echoes of Barbara Kingsolver’s Prodigal Summer. CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED BY: People Magazine, Marie Claire, Entertainment Weekly, Buzzfeed, New York Times Book Review, San Francisco Chronicle “A stunner: intense, surefooted, masterful. This is a book to swallow whole.” —Rebecca Makkai, author of The Great Believers
In The Lightkeepers, we follow Miranda, a nature photographer who travels to the Farallon Islands, an exotic and dangerous archipelago off the coast of California, for a one–year residency capturing the landscape. Her only companions are the scientists studying there, odd and quirky refugees from the mainland living in rustic conditions; they document the fish populations around the island, the bold trio of sharks called the Sisters that hunt the surrounding waters, and the overwhelming bird population who, at times, create the need to wear hard hats as protection from their attacks.
Shortly after her arrival, Miranda is assaulted by one of the inhabitants of the islands. A few days later, her assailant is found dead, perhaps the result of an accident. As the novel unfolds, Miranda gives witness to the natural wonders of this special place as she grapples with what has happened to her and deepens her connection (and her suspicions) to her companions, while falling under the thrall of the legends of the place nicknamed ‘the Islands of the Dead.’ And when more violence occurs, each member of this strange community falls under suspicion.
The Last Animal by Abby Geni is that rare literary find — a remarkable series of stories unified around one theme: people who use the interface between the human and the natural world to contend with their modern challenges of love, loss, and family life. These are vibrant, weighty stories that herald the arrival of a young writer of surprising feeling and depth.
"Terror Birds" tracks the dissolution of a marriage set against an ostrich farm in the sweltering Arizona desert; "Dharma at the Gate" features the tempest of young love as a teenaged girl must choose between man's best friend, her damaged boyfriend, and a beckoning future; "Captivity" follows an octopus handler at an aquarium still haunted by the disappearance of her brother years ago; "The Girls of Apache Bryn Mawr" details a Greek chorus of Jewish girls at a summer camp whose favorite counselor goes missing under suspicious circumstances; "In the Spirit Room" centers on a scientist suffering the heartbreaking loss of a parent from Alzheimer's while living in the natural history museum where they both worked; in "Fire Blight" a father grieving over his wife's recent miscarriage finds an outlet for comfort in their backyard garden and makes a surprising discovery on how to cherish living things; and in the title story, a retired woman traces the steps of the husband who left her thirty years ago, burning the letters he had sent along the way, while the luminous and exotic wildlife of the Pacific Ocean opens up to receive her.
Unflinching, exciting, ambitious and heartfelt, The Last Animal takes readers through a menagerie of settings and landscapes as it underscores the connection between all living things.