Cover Image: Lark Ascending

Lark Ascending

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Lark Ascending is both a condemnation and a message of hope, a warning and a salve. It has so many elements I love: an apocalypse, a found family (including a dog), love that spans a lifetime. In the first third of the book, I felt like it was almost too bleak, giving me Parable of the Sower vibes (I love that book, but there is no relief from the darkness in it). But House's beautiful writing swept me up anyway, as it did in his last novel, Southernmost. House is an Appalachian writer, and I grew up in the Appalachians, but this book is apparently a departure for him since it doesn't have anything to do with the region and is primarily set in Ireland. Honestly, I would read anything this man writes, and I will be enthusiastically diving into his backlist. He has a way with descriptions, making you feel what the characters are feeling even in the smallest moments. This book is sad and dark and beautiful and hopeful, and I hope Silas House becomes a household name.

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This dystopian novel with echoes of The Dog Stars and The Road is set in the not-too-distant future, where fires have ravaged the globe and religious extremists have seized control of governments. This is the story of Lark, a teenage refugee who fled Maine with his family hoping to find sanctuary in Ireland, the last country rumored to be accepting refugees—only to discover upon arrival that the borders have closed and his perilous journey has only just begun. Dejected, starving, and alone, he sets out for Glendalough, the "thin place" his mother told him about before she died. Along the way, he befriends Seamus, a trustworthy beagle who somehow managed to survive even after dogs were eradicated, and encounters others who wish to both help and harm him. This is a departure for House; those who have enjoyed his past work may especially appreciate the wistful prose and LGBTQ love story in this one.

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Lark Ascending, by Silas House, is an eco-apocalyptic cautionary tale in which the reader vividly experiences the loss, fear, and motivation of a refugee.

Lark grows up in a time of upheaval. Fires ravage the United States and fundamentalists (“Fundies”) have taken control of the country. At age 20, he is forced to flee across the ocean to Ireland, the last country known to accept refugees.

House succeeds in crafting a chilling tale because the story feels terribly plausible. Both in the United States and across the globe, we are witnessing the destruction of greater and more devastating wildfires. We are warned that rising sea levels will force a mass migration inland. At the same time, far-right political groups are gaining ground in the U.S. and Europe. As I write this, the Sweden Democrats, a party with Nazi origins, has gained a significant foothold in Sweden’s government, and Italy is about to elect their most right-wing leader since Mussolini.

Despite the horrors Lark faces on his journey, he retains a determination to keep going. And this drive to keep going and stay alive provides the heart of the novel. The author repeatedly returns to themes of hope, trust, companionship, and beauty in even the worst situations.

Lark Ascending is not a subtle book. It is both disturbing and beautiful. Silas House has written a tightly crafted vision of the worst our world could become. This is the kind of book that makes you feel the big emotions, a book that sticks in your head long after the final page. It’s not a book I enjoyed, but it is a book that I loved.

Thank you to Algonquin Books and NetGalley for early access to this title.

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I will try to revist this title at a later date, but something about the book isn't clicking with me right now. I can tell the writing is great and I am interested in the premise but I am having a hard time keeping up with the story without skimming, so I am going to set it aside for now.

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Many thanks to NetGalley and Algonquin Books for gifting me a digital ARC of this haunting book by Silas House - 4.5 stars!

Set in the future with fires ravaging North America, Lark and his family find passage on a boat headed to Ireland. But it's a terrible journey with only Lark surviving. He is desperate to keep his parents' dream alive of settling in Glendalough, so he sets out on his own. He is soon joined by a dog, Seamus, and friend, Helen. This unlikely trio journeys on and makes a new family.

This is a haunting look at the possibilities of climate change and human behavior on our world in the future. I fell in love with Seamus - he will break your heart in so many different ways. This is a story of strength, perseverance and finding those who love us in the world, whatever that looks like. Fans of Station Eleven will love this book!

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4+
An apocalyptic novel where things have gone horribly wrong in the United States due to climate change, devastating fires, and militias who enforce religious doctrine.
20 yr old Lark and his parents get on an overcrowded, very old yacht that is traveling to Ireland where things are said to be better.
Lark is the only boat passenger to make it to shore after sickness, storms, and a treacherous journey.
He’s looking to get Glendalough.
There are drones and guards over in Ireland too.
During his trek to find this town, he comes across a dog and later an older woman to accompany him.
It’s tough going.

I enjoyed this story…it’s a fast and eventful read!
Silas is such a good writer and this is his first novel that is not set in Appalachia.

Thank you to Netgalley and Algonquin Books.for the ARC!

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Thank you to the publishers, author and NetGalley for the free copy of this book.

I don't know why I continue to read catastrophe books like this when I KNOW its going to give me anxiety but hey, I still enjoyed it! Well written with good pacing. I would recommend giving this a go!

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This book is well written and a quick read. I liked this story, but I can't say that I enjoyed it. It is bleak and sad and unfortunately all to believeable. This book also uses a device that I don't enjoy and that us the old man telling his story in a non-linear fashion. This is just personal preference ce but it did inhibit my enjoyment.

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While America is on fire Lark, his mom and dad escape on a ship bound for Ireland. But the trip is long hard and grueling and by trips end Lark is the only one left alive aboard. But the country he was looking for refuge in did not want him and Lark ran, soon he made a friend a dog, and as happens they become best buds, and head for Glendalough and pray they will take him and his friend in. Lark meets others on the way some become part of his ragtag bunch, others not. No matter to Lark as long as he keeps heading for Glendalough.
This was a interesting book very different than more futuristic books, as I don’t think I have ever heard one where people are fleeing the U.S. I liked it even though some parts where tough to read, but that is to be had in a book of this type, it is realistic.

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Thank you to NetGalley for early access to Lark Ascending by Silas House. I haven’t read anything by House before, but he’s gained a fan that is going to check out his earlier work ASAP. This book was lovely in its depiction of love and survival in a world that is a realistic depiction of what could one day be. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys dystopian literature.

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Thanks to Netgalley, the publisher and the author for letting me read this advanced readers copy.

This is a timely book in an this era of global climate change turning the u.s. into an almost uninhabitable place.
Lark and his family take a boat to Ireland where they have heard American refugees are welcome. It is a fierce journey and only Lark survives the journey.
It turns out that Ireland is not so welcoming and Lark is off to fight for his life. He finds a dog and then a woman searching for her son. The three form their own family - this theme of community in the midst of great strife makes this book a good read. Offering hope is a gift from the author

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It's the future and Lark and his family are on a very crowded refugee boat headed for Ireland - the lone country in the world still accepting fleeing Americans. In a nightmare dystopian story, the United States has become an unsafe place for anyone of color, anyone who is different. "The Fundys" - as they call the Fundamental Christians who have overrun the country have destroyed much of the land through uncontrolled iwldfireds.
#Algonquinbooks #LarkAscending #SilasHouse #NetGalley

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Many, many thanks to NetGalley for the ARC of this! I am a huge fan of this author. He is so talented. His books are an absolute joy to read, This work was definitely different from his past works. I still believe that anyone that has read this author before will still relish this read though. This was a magical journey. Given what is happening with the climate right now, it makes this work feel even more important. Highly, highly recommend this.

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Silas House is such a talented writer. This was a bit different than the usual books he writes, taking place in Southern culture and themes. It ended up being a favorite and shows what a talent he truly is.

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Silas House has always been one of my favorite authors, and his latest novel was phenomenal. It was beautifully written and I absolutely loved Lark and Seamus. Definitely a novel I'll be revisiting often.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the free e-copy.

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Author Silas House steps outside of his beloved Appalachian Mountains of Kentucky and into a dark, new world order in the dystopian novel, Lark Ascending, coming out at the end of September. Yet, he brings his storytelling style and his brightly colored images to this cautionary tale about a ruined America taken over by fundamentalist Christians called Fundies, forcing survivors to seek asylum somewhere else.

The story is told by an elderly man named Lark, who as a 20-year-old joined his parents along with other survivors of a ruined America to journey by ship to Ireland, the only place still open to refugees of some unnamed disaster. The voyage was miserable as it was overcrowded and understaffed, seasickness prevailed, and one misfortune after another befell the passengers.

After surviving the voyage from Nova Scotia to Ireland, the evacuees are attacked by soldiers with guns and bombs, the message being no more room for refugees. From this point, a dispirited Lark, the only survivor of the sinking ship, must get to shore and walk to a special place called Glendalough as he promised his mother he would do.

Constantly looking over his shoulder and hiding wherever he could along the way, Lark comes across a dog, an anomaly in a world where pets have been outlawed because famine is everywhere as fires have destroyed crops, and there is not even enough food for people. A few chapters focus on the point of view of the beagle, Seamus, where readers learn his late owner had taught him not to bark, not to make a sound, so they could safely hide from the Nays who have taken over the green isle.

On their journey, Lark and Seamus come across a woman named Helen, who after some consideration, decides the three of them will journey to Glendalough together, Lark seeking a safe haven and Helen searching for someone important to her. Their odyssey is troubled with an encounter with the Banished, traitors of the Irish people, and with Lark’s desire to rescue a child he sees from afar in a prisoner’s camp, thinking she was on the ship with him.

In this dark, depressing world of gray and black, the author offsets it with glimpses of color that hint at hope for a better future, from anemone blue skies to blue headed and yellow chested birds, and always the glowing green of Ireland. House may have left Appalachia but the strengths readers experience in his Appalachian Literature are still evidenced in this apocalyptic story, especially his ability to describe place.

Silas House writes novels, short stories, nonfiction, plays, and essays. His work has found a home in many publications including the New York Times, the Atlantic, Time, and Garden & Gun. Honored by many awards for his work, his Appalachian trilogy – A Parchment of Leaves, the Coal Tattoo, and Clay’s Quilt – has been drawn from not only his experiences in Appalachia but also from the experiences of his family. His novel Southernmost is currently in development as a motion picture. A resident of Lexington, Kentucky, House is a full professor at Berea College.

My review will be posted on Goodreads starting June 19, 2022.

I would like to thank Algonquin Books, Workman Publishing, and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in return for an objective review.

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Silas House draws on his narrative powers and literary craft for a new kind of story. He explores empathy and humanity, as well as journey, with expert hands.

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With climate change ravaging North America, wars and famine sweeping the globe, refugees are fleeing the continent in search of a safe harbor. Lark and his family boarded a boat bound for Ireland, one of the last countries rumored to be letting Americans in, but only Lark survives the voyage and what he finds when he comes ashore is far from a refuge, his mother and the few survivors on the ship are shot by people defending a country that is clearly NOt taking in any refugees. He must stay on the run to survive, but in his journeys, adopts a dog and a woman searching for her son. This odd trio makes a strange little family as they try to find Glendalough, a community rumored to hold a sanctuary from the horrors of an apocalyptic world. Many have compared this book to Station Eleven, but I actually liked it even more. As the all too obvious signs of climate change make themselves known, this book seems less like fiction and more like a terrifying prophecy

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Unfortunately, I’m unable to review this title, as the color formatting is off and the text appears an invisible when trying to read via Kindle.
Will update my review if this issue is fixed and I’m able to read the book.

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