I am not sure what to say about this book. I felt that it had so much promise but it just never landed for me. It takes place sometime after a pandemic and the author imagines what our world is like with climate change. There were so many points of view that none of the characters really gelled. There was a little bit of magical realism that never really went anywhere. There were terror attacks by a group called the Oceloti who I think were fighting for the environment and their leader is a man who showed up with a connection to someone but it wasn't really explained. I had hoped that all these connections would come together in the end but it just didn't for me. I even downloaded the audiobook thinking this would help but not so much. With a full cast of characters each chapter was narrated by that character but instead of the others chiming in the title character read the whole thing with different voices adding to my confusion.
Thank you to Netgalley and Knopf Doubleday for providing me with a digital copy.
Vigil Harbor is like going for a random drive. It's nice but there's not really a point.
Vigil Harbor is set ijnthe future. Climate change is ravaging the planet. Pandemics are a regular occurrence. Terrorism is high.
But then there's Vigil Harbor. It's set on a cliff so the rising sea levels aren't really a problem. And it's kind of isolated from all the other problems too except for regular small town drama. There's plenty of that.
Then two newcomers to town bring up the past and some problems.
Virgil Harbor is a good novel for readers who are new to futuristic climate fiction. Brecht, a NYC college drop out is a likeable character who is well-developed. Recommended for readers who are exploring the futuristic genre and want to have a welcoming introduction to that theme.
This beautifully written, as expected but so different than i've found her previous novels. only slightly speculative, this is a possible version of a small, affluent town post-pandemic, political terrorism, immigration & global warming.
there is a lot of trauma to go around & how the various, well-defined characters deal with past & present events is where the book shines.
I have always enjoyed the works of Julia Glass and this one was no exception.
This tale, told roughly ten years in the future -- around 2034, includes several families who live in the town of Vigil Harbor. They all interact with each other but all have their own stories and situations with which they are dealing.
The story carries the reader along through situations as benign as divorces, marriages, and pregnancies and as dire as bombings, terrorist kidnappings, and disappearing land due to climate change flooding. It just about covers the whole gamut! But Glass has a wonderful way of making it all come together and the characters seem very real. It is easy to see each of their situations and actually care about them, hoping that things will turn out for the best.
I enjoyed this novel for its sense of real life, but also because it felt like looking into the future. It just made me want to keep on reading -- and I did!
I’d like to thank NetGalley, Julia Glass, and Pantheon for the advanced reader's copy in exchange for my unbiased review.
Thhis novel is a departure from Julia glass' other novels, but it seems to be an improvement. Glass has developed and matured as a writer and her beautiful prose shins off the pages of Vigil Harbor. In her experience teaching college students, Glass has absorbed some of their language and outlook. This makes Vigil Harbor a must-read recommendation.
Taking place about 10 years from now, things have only gotten worse on the planet. Domestic terrorism abounds, as do the effects of climate change. the gap between rich and poor has grown even wider and there is no solution in sight.
Vigil Harbor is a spit of land high on a bluff over the Atlantic Ocean in Massachusetts. Each chapter reads like a short story by a different resident of the town. These include an architect, his wife Martha and her son Brecht, as well as other key players in the drama. Brecht has returned home as a college dropout following a bombing in Union Square in New York City. He is recovering from PTSD and working for an arborist and gardener. Other stories include two couples whose marriages have broken up and a visitor from New York trying to trace her lost love who may well be an artistic Selkie. (?) About 75% into the book, you will feel you are in the midst of a thriller and your heart cannot help but beat faster as you read.
The descriptions are much like verbal painting, making you see rain, cold, sunrises, tree houses and artwork. The ending is poetic. Her writing is simply gorgeous, and I can't wait to see Jullia Glass' further development in her next oeuvre.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I enjoy lit fic quite a bit, and I enjoy dystopian fiction as well. I wouldn't say I'm the type of reader who needs stories to be neat and tidy to enjoy them. However, I feel strongly that stories like this one could benefit from a more cohesive narrative and a tighter structure, rather than jumping around to character after character.
LOVED this book. The writing is lyrical combined with a compelling plot and an incredible cast of characters. Global warming has progressed and Vigil Harbor, perched on its granite cliffs, is still secure. But its physical security does not mean that all will remain safe forever.
Another beautiful book from Julia Glass! Compulsively readable, thought provoking. A not so imaginary look into the future.
Vigil Harbor is a big book -- the audiobook clocks in at 17 hours -- so I hesitate to recommend it widely, given the time commitment it presents.
Still, I really liked getting to know all these characters. Perspective trades among the various inhabitants (and one visitor) of a small peninsula in the Northeastern U.S. About a decade after the COVID-19 pandemic began, climate change is at a fever pitch and there are frequent domestic terrorist attacks. Meanwhile, the town represents and comprises a bubble of sorts -- up on a cliff, it's not immediately threatened by rising tides.
Each of the characters has their own issues and stresses; these also serve to tie them to the other voices in the novel. For example, Mike and Margo find themselves suddenly single, after discovering their spouses were cheating -- with each other (their interactions were a treat). In some parts I found the backstory Julia Glass provides fascinating; in others, I'd have done without it. Issa, in particular, didn't add much to the story for me. (Of course, the New York Times' review labels that "among the most enchanting of its various threads," so as always YMMV.)
But there's something just so satisfying about sinking oneself into a chunker of a book, and Glass delivered on that account. Vigil Harbor reminded me of Crossroads by Franzen at times. The full-cast narration is excellent (I kept putting down the text in favor of the audio. Features Cassandra Campbell, Kimberly Farr, Jeremy Davidson, January LaVoy, Michael Crouch, Kirsten Potter, Mark Deakons, Hilary Huber, and Alec Glass).
Julia Glass touched on a number of relevant topics in her latest novel Vigil Harbor, giving us a glimpse of what the not-too-far off future may hold for us. I was a bit confused about the timeline until I confirmed that the story actually takes place ten years from now. Each chapter was narrated by a different character. Since there were so many characters, I would pause at the beginning of each chapter to place who this particular narrator was and how they fit into the storyline. Thanks to NetGalley and Knopf Doubleday Pubslishing Group for an advance copy to read and review.
This was a most interesting read. Many strands created a tapestry of deep wonder. It is hard to put that depth into words. As the tale built slowly to its crescendo, I was more and more invested in the outcome. By the end this book was downright thrilling! A great read - highly recommended.
I couldn’t help comparing this novel to a stuffed crust pizza. So much oozing storytelling, so many different toppings. It’s an Impressive work of multiple narration, also a futuristic consideration of planet and politics, and let’s not forget the dash of magic. Glass is to be congratulated for juggling all this so capably, often entertainingly. Is it too long? Do some of the characters offer dimmer attraction? Yes, and yes, Nevertheless, this is engaging and atmospheric stuff. Well done her.
Thank you to NetGallery for the advance e copy of this title. I enjoy Julia Glass's writing immensely, but the plot and theme of this book did not appeal to me at all. Vigil Harbor is set in the near future (10-12) in a small coastal New England town. The inhabitants of the town all are dealing with the aftermath of the Pandemic and various incidents of terrorism and eco-terrorism they have witnessed personally or through the endless cycle of news. The story is told from the viewpoints of SEVERAL members of the town, yet it does not seem disjointed. I didn't find any of the characters particularly riveting or relatable, and unfortunately, the story was a real downer for me.
When I read Three Junes, I was enraptured. Thus, I read all of Julia Glass' subsequent novels with wonder and delight. Vigil Harbor is yet another amazing novel from Glass, and having it is a supreme gift for any reader. Glass' prose is masterful, sometimes gentle, and always enticing. The plot of Vigil Harbor is deep, timely, and often complicated. Most of all, Glass' ability to craft characters and write about their thread of connections is astonishing and can also be quite funny at times. Glass' vocabulary, skill in putting together words, musical prose, and crafting of literary relationships is genius. If you read Vigil Harbor, read it slowly and carefully in order not to miss any of its rich and sterling qualities.
Set in the near future, this speculative novel looks at the repercussions of pre-apocalyptic events on the residents of small, smug Vigil Harbor on the Massachusetts coast. For me, its success lies in the creation of a deep and richly complex cast while ecoterrorism and climate change are more of a backdrop.
The novel is narrated by members of four Vigil Harbor families and one interloper, over the course of a few days following a terrorist bombing in New York by the Oceloti, a previously rather tame rain forest defense group. Though Vigil Harborites can track the damage that rising sea levels are doing to their town, they feel secure in their isolated position against attacks from those who want to bring attention to the wilful squandering of the earth’s natural resources. But it turns out that they are not as invulnerable as they would like.
For me, the novel got off to a rocky start with Brecht, a college student now at home with his mother and architect stepfather, following a bombing near his home in New York. I felt the author was trying a bit too hard, using invented young people patois while trying to establish the just around the bend time period. Once we get to the middle aged narrators, the author (and me as a reader) just felt more comfortable.
Once the world has been established, we hone in on the two stories catalyzed by two outsiders. Petra has come to talk covertly to Austin about a most unusual young woman, Issa, they both had a relationship with decades ago. Ernesto is on his way up the coast and has called in to see Celestino, a supposedly old friend of his. Vigil Harbor is nearly all white and heterosexual, but Petra is gay and Ernesto is brown-skinned.
The finely delineated characters and their relationships with each are masterfully crafted, each with a unique voice and perspective. As we move from narrator to narrator, each moving the story forward and filling out the background, I found myself particularly drawn to Margo. She’s a waspish retired high school English teacher, abandoned by her husband who has moved away with a woman from the Yacht Club to a survivalist commune. In some ways, Margo is rather pathetic, yet the author gives her a sharpness and zing that avoids that.
While both storylines reach conclusions, neither is particularly satisfactory. Petra and Austin reach an understanding of what went on between themselves and Issa, but neither feels like they have reached a catharsis. Ernesto presents much more of a threat to the Harborites but in the end it sort of fizzles out offstage and we only learn what really happened through an extended epilogue-style section.
Ms Glass is probably most famous for Three Junes, which I read so long ago I can only remember that I really loved it and not much else about it. I’m not sure this is the novel that will bring her that sort of acclaim again, but it is abundantly enjoyable and will make many readers (and book clubs) very happy.
Thanks to Knopf Doubleday and Netgalley for the digital review copy.
I loved this novel, in fact, I think it is my favorite book by Julia Glass. Set in the next decade, after a pandemic and in the midst of ongoing climate challenge, Vigil Harbor is a small East Coast town where people are just living their lives in a time when they’re not quite sure what that means. The frisson of anxiety beneath the town is resulting in marriage breakups among the YC (Yacht Club) and some strange behavior. The stepson of the town’s renowned architect of climate-survivable homes has returned from New York after being injured in a climate-action explosion, an event about which he remembers almost nothing. A woman from Texas has arrived to write an article about that same architect. The local arborist receives a visit from an old acquaintance, someone he is not happy to see.
Told in alternating points of view, Glass introduces us to the characters with depth, elegance, and humor. Each person is fully realized, their hearts exposed. We see how the lives of the adults already differ from the way young people are forging their ways and imagining the future.
I am grateful to Netgalley and Knopf for access to this title.
If this sounds too dark, it’s not. There’s a moving element of magic in an unexpected place. “Vigil Harbor” is engrossing, enlightening, and hard to put down.
Thank you to NetGalley for the opportunity to read this ARC. Vigil Harbor is set in a post pandemic America, but not so far ahead that the older characters can’t remember what “normal” looked like. The food supply chain is fraught, climate change is very real and domestIc terrorism is on the rise by a group demanding that the damaged ecosystem be saved. And let’s not forget the mysterious Issa, the artist who has mesmerized two of our characters, one of whom has mostly forgotten about her and one who is obsessed with finding her. Add people leaving their spouses for other partners in their social circle, the death of a young man at the hands of Oceloti and Brecht, who cannot remember the details of the day his friend was murdered, but feels responsible and you have novel-stew: what more could the author have thrown at us in one book. Fantasy? There is some.
I was so excited to read a new June Glass novel and then I wasn’t. It drags. It’s repetitive. Given the sheer number of themes you’d wonder how it could be so dull. I didn’t care about the characters. Covid is still a thing. There was another school shooting last week. I don’t like fantasy themes at all. The book opens in such a way that the reader wonders where the author is going. The end of the book wraps up that storyline, but I had to reread it to get the full impact.
So many great characters and a very imaginative story told in the not so distant future, where the results of climate change are just beginning to impact daily life and social unrest leads to terrorism.. The story will keep you up at night and this book will be hard to put down, much like other Julia Glass novels. The only part of the story I didn’t care for was the selkie theme- too imaginative for my taste.
Thank you Netgalley for a ARC.
Vigil Harbor by Julia Glass takes place ten years into the future. I really didn't want to read a book with mentions of the covid pandemic but it just gives some flashbacks to what life was like before covid. And now climate change has changed the world. The story is told from multiple perspectives which is fine if there's two or three. This book was told from EIGHT different characters. Ms. Glass makes this book work though I don't believe it was one for me. I guess it made me feel nervous while reading it and I just didn't care for that many different characters. But it was an interesting read!
I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.