Cover Image: The Morningside

The Morningside

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Member Reviews

I picked this book up because I recognized the author from [book:The Tiger's Wife|8366402] (which I have yet to read) and wanted the chance to read some of her work.

There’s the world you can see. And then there’s the one you can’t. Welcome to the Morningside.

After being expelled from their ancestral home, Silvia and her mother finally settle at the Morningside, a crumbling luxury tower in Island City where Silvia’s aunt Ena serves as the superintendent. Silvia feels unmoored in her new life because her mother has been so diligently secretive about their family's past. Silvia knows almost nothing about the place where she was born and spent her early years, nor does she know why she and her mother had to leave. But in Ena there is an a person willing to give the young girl glimpses into the folktales of her demolished homeland, a place of natural beauty and communal spirit that is lacking in Silvia's lonely and impoverished reality.

Enchanted by Ena’s stories, Silvia begins seeing the world with magical possibilities and becomes obsessed with the mysterious older woman who lives in the penthouse of the Morningside. Bezi Duras is an enigma to everyone in the building. She has her own elevator entrance and leaves only to go out at night and walk her three massive hounds, often not returning until the early morning. Silvia’s mission to unravel the truth about this woman’s life, and her own haunted past, may end up costing her everything.

Startling, inventive, and profoundly moving, The Morningside is a novel about the stories we tell—and the stories we refuse to tell—to make sense of where we came from and who we hope we might become.

My Thoughts:
This dystopian world was set somewhere in the United States after some type of climate disaster that included drought and flooding which the people haven't really been able to recover from. The story is told from the point of view of Silvia who lives with her mother. They have been part of a Relocation Project and are living with her Aunt Ena. Silvia's mother won't talk about the past, so Silvia doesn't really know where she came from and what happened in the past. Aunt Ena provides information to Silvia and shows pictures, but Silvia doesn't know what is true and what her mother is hiding. This is the story of a mother and daughter relationship and of hidden secrets. It was interesting to see the two worlds competing in Silvia's mind - the one on the surface and the one Aunt Ena described with her stories of a Vila and scary negotiations the Vila made. This is an interesting book with magical realism and a coming of age story. It is character driven and the characters are well drawn and have depth.

Thanks to Random House through Netgalley for an advance copy. Expected publication on March 19, 2024.

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This book was wonderful in every way. Tea Obreht evokes childhood so forcefully and so palpably that it brought me back to my own young self as an immigrant feeling like a stranger in a strange land yet having to be the adult, the interpreter, the parent to the parent who relies on you. The story itself is poignant yet whimsical, beautifully written, riding on the edge of post apocalyptic reality (possibly our near future) and magical realism. The thing I loved most about this book is that it’s full of hope. Even in a world gone to shit there are people who become your family that make it all worthwhile.

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4.5 stars

An odd, slow moving, compelling dystopian magical realism story. There were so many interesting characters and I never new if an element was a childish whimsy, a part of their culture, or if supernatural forces were at play. It kept me wanting to read on to hear more about the world they were living in and what had happened in the past. There were so many different female relationships explored in unique ways that I know I will be thinking about for a long time. I also liked the use of Our language, and how the past affects actions, and what happens when you try to silence those stories. The only drawback was the ending for me, it seemed pretty sudden and jolting, but that could just be me wanting more from this world. I would have liked to see more of grown Sil's life.

Thank you to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

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I loved the blurred lines in this book about myth and reality (which has been hit-or-miss for me in a few books I’ve recently read). Here, it is done well!

A post-apocalyptic look at the world after climate change devastation and war, this novel is really about a young girl who wants to believe the myths and stories of her aunt, as a way to gain insight about her tight-lipped, distant mother.

I haven’t read Obreht’s earlier works (though I did start and enjoy what I have read of Inland). It is obvious the dystopian genre is new to this author, and from what I read of Inland, it employs a lighter literary touch stylistically. That said, I give her props for driving in a new literary lane.

The novel begs the questions: What is real? and What if? And it paints a bleak and all-too-realistic picture of a possible future where a viable occupation is as a recovery diver collecting valuables from homes now underwater; where wildlife is sparse and rarely encountered; and where entertainment comes in the form of reminiscing about the "old world."

I enjoyed this mother-daughter story, and look forward to picking up the author’s backlist – and finishing Inland

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"The Morningside" is a coming-of-age dystopian/fantasy/horror story with an engaging young narrator. The setting is of an alternative world that is dreamlike but feels true. It reminded me of "The Elegance of the Hedgehog" with its bright, young narrator, and "The Light Pirate," for its dystopian setting and strong female relationships. Highly recommended. Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC. #TheMorningside #NetGalley

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Series Info/Source: This is a stand alone book. I got an ebook for this from NetGalley to review..

Thoughts: This ended up being okay. The story starts very slow and feels very "day in the life". There is a bit of a plot and the pace does pick up more towards the end. I liked the strange post-apocalyptic setting but it also felt a bit unfinished and ultimately the story felt unsatisfying to me.

The story follows a young girl (and eventually young woman) named Silvia who lives with her mother in the strange high rise building called the Morningstar. Her mother is the superintendent at The Morningstar, a high-rise with wealthy tenants who are trying to relive their glory days while the rest of the world drowns under the rising waters of the Earth. Silivia is inspired by the fantastical stories her aunt, Ena, and starts to become obsessed with the mysterious woman who lives on the top floor of the building.

The story moved slowly and we wander from day to day with Silvia as she both takes on maintenance tasks in The Morningstar and plots to find out more about the top floor resident. No background is ever explained about the world and we are left to piece it together from what we see and hear from the characters. This left the world feeling kind of dreamy and thin.

The tone and pace of the story changes dramatically at the end when Silvia's mom recognizes a man who has recently moved into The Morningstar. At this point the story pivots away from the myserious woman on the top floor and things get more urgent...until then again they aren't. Our characters just move past those issues and wander away to live their lives. While realistic, I guess, it makes for a fairly unsatisfying read. It left me wondering what the point was.

The writing is easy to read and engaging. I struggled with the pacing and with picturing the world and caring about the characters. I did like the theme of a parent struggling to provide for their child in this post-apocalyptic world.

My Summary (3.5/5): Overall this was okay but forgettable. The world is vague and the characters aren't all that likable. There is a bit of a plot but it is left stranded mid-book while the story pivots to other issues. The story lacks urgency and ends up feeling unfinished and left me with a well...okay then...kind of vibe. I finished it and the world was tantalizing in the glimpses we got but I just felt a bit cheated that so little actually happened.

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Not a lot of action in this story but what there is happens in short bursts and then disappears. It was difficult to get too involved with the characters or their problems as almost none of the issues flowed through the whole book. The sense of place was pretty well developed as climate change had reshaped cities but once the narrative left the Morningside area where most of the story takes place, descriptions were a bit sketchier. The mother/daughter relationship was probably the strongest part of the story. There were just too many loose, partially developed threads that hindered my enjoyment of this novel.

Thanks to NetGalley and Random House Publishing for the ARC to read and review.

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In The Morningside, Téa Obreht takes the reader into a future-type place where water levels have swallowed up places around the world and forced scores of people to relocate. Eleven year old Silvia, and her mother, have recently moved to an island city through the Repopulation Program to live at The Morningside tower. The Morningside is past its hayday but still has a stately presence in the city. Sil learns the secrets of the building and its occupants, including a possible witch. Sil and her mother, work and live within the building and island while trying to figure out a path forward.

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A strange and interesting story of a young girl whose mother takes her to live in a building where her aunt is the superintendent. The girl is told stories by her aunt and told nothing from her mother. She is trying to figure out her life among the other residents of the building.

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I love dystopia, I also love folklore and why did I struggle with this Nov? I think most dystopian fiction is a fast paced race for survival (the hunger games, the maze runner, the Divergent series) and this was a slow build and slow plot. I wanted more from this book than I got, but the writing and imagery is so beautiful so I will continue to try Obreht's novels in the future.
Tha k you to the publisher and NetGalley for the ARC that was given in exchange for an honest review.

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Tea Obrecht must be acknowledged as one of the premiere writers of our time. Her mastery of language is a treat to read - not one word placed where it shouldn’t be. Because her previous book Inland was one of my favorites a couple years ago, I thought I might enjoy The Morningside even though it’s one of my least favorite genres of dystopian fiction. All that leads me to say this was not a book for me. I recognize the skillful storytelling, but I found I could not engage with the story much. That’s all me, not the author. Fans of dystopian fiction will eat this up, though and it will surely be a popular borrow in libraries..

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This is an odd one. It went from the story cruising right along to the epilogue. I'm not entirely sure what happened. This book is definitely readable - I was absolutely immersed. I get some of the symbolism and the untethered feeling of those refugees who are seeking a new and better life. Silvia is a pre-teen who has traveled far from her ancestral home, of which she has no memory because she left as an infant, with her mother, who is pretty tight-lipped about their past and what they were running from. They've landed at The Morningside, an old building that is set back far enough from the bay to avoid the floods.
This one left me with questions. I may read it again and see if I may have missed something. It was a good book, if a bit different, so re-reading wouldn't be a bad thing.
Thanks to the publisher for a pre-pub copy of this book for my honest review.

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The Morningside sounded like a book right up my alley with a dystopian setting, but it fell a little short. The beginning was a little confusing and really could have used more detail about the main characters background and more history regarding how things got to the point they are now. It took me more than half of the book to become more interested in what was going on. The story seemed to dabble a bit with magical realism, but not enough to give it a strong foundation. I think the author was trying to combine the themes of climate change and immigration, but I feel neither was fleshed out enough. Overall, it was an interesting story, but missed on a few marks for me.

#TheMorningside #NetGalley

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This author will never let me down! Moving to a new location with family is emotionally hard for any family. With Silvia's family, secrets have been kept for centuries, and the family you know may not be what you have always thought.

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I loved Tea Obreht's The Tigers Wife and Inland enough to plan a reread. Then along comes The Morningside!. Something completely different. Or is it? In The Morningside, we are in a climate change dystopia . Or is it? In this original, disquieting narrative, with questions left unanswered, Syl and her mother have been uprooted, finding themselves in a repopulated area reminiscent of the Upper West Side of Manhattan, The once glamorous, sparkling city has been flooded, and Morningside is a former luxury building inhabited by survivors who remember the past. But Syl's generation will not remember that past for long and will create their own reality. Highly recommended.

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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC of this book!

I wanted to like this book so bad, but it just fell flat in so many arenas. The main character feels like a curious child who has been admonished by her mother one too many times, but somehow this makes her not believable. The setting is very well described, but the book feels chaotic. It’s just magic meets post apocalypse meets coming of age meets family drama meets mystery and it all winds up feeling a bit messy. The other characters aren’t particularly compelling and the things that seem like they may pick up and wrap themselves up don’t feel conclusive at the end.

I have to give it 2.5/5 for it being well-written and easy to follow, but it definitely wasn’t my cup of tea (unfortunately).

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“‘Your kids won’t find peace or happiness in the things you had, either. The things you had, the things you saw will probably be gone by the time they’re born. You’ll find yourself telling them about your youth and they’ll look at you like you’re crazy, and it’ll hit you that you have to explain how elevators worked. Or trains or something. And that’s all right. They’ll be all right, just as you’ve been. Here or back in Paraiso — or on the moon, hell, I don’t know. The past is immense. But it means less and less. So we go on without. And that’s fine, Sil. It’s fine.’”

Thanks to NetGalley and Random House for providing an ARC of this book.

Silvia lives in a futuristic world in which people are relocated due to climate change. She and her mother move to The Morningside, an apartment building, where they work as the super. There is a whole cast of interesting characters: an old woman who may or may not be a magical spirit, her three dogs who may or may not actually be dogs, her plucky friend whose family has a dark past, the outcast writer who is reeling from his past mistakes. This is a novel that touches on the changing topography of our world, war crimes, the dangers of curiosity, poverty and class, growing up, the secrets those closest to us can keep, and a whole host of other issues.

While the characters are very interesting, it’s the story’s many plots that threw me off. Each time I thought a mystery was about to be solved or a plot wrapped up, Obreht stopped short and threw in a new conflict instead. This made for a very disconnected reading experience, despite the book holding my interest overall.

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A young girl, Silvia, and her mother, fleeing their homeland, settle in a nearly empty apartment building. Silvia, influenced by her great aunt becomes obsessed with the folktales of her homeland and projects them onto the building's most mysterious resident.

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This is a book for all the people watchers of the universe. Who wonder who’s who and why and how they got to where they are. This book is for people who enjoy little tidbits on the way to a bigger pixture, and who as kids tried to find answers to questions plaguing a young mind. This book kept me guessing and reminiscing of movies like Harriet the Spy.

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In a post-apocalyptic future, rising seas create crumbling landscapes and displace thousands of people. 11-year-old Silvia and her mother move to a formerly grand building called the Morningside. There, Silvia decides to investigate the mysterious penthouse resident who may – or may not – be a creature from legend. The Morningside is filled with folklore and beautifully lyrical thoughts on mothers, daughters, and the tales we choose to tell ourselves.

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