“The Light Pirate” Book Review

I don’t usually read fiction novels about the devastating effects of climate-change, but Lily Brooks-Dalton’s The Light Pirate is a hauntingly realistic story of hurricanes taking over the land in Florida, in a future setting. The writing is beautiful and so descriptive. The characters are flawed, but I loved the way many of them rose to the occasion when tragedy hit and helped each other with love and sacrifice.

Kirby Lowe lives in Florida with his pregnant wife, Frida and his two sons from a previous marriage. He is an electrical lineman, called out when weather or accidents cause disruptions in the electrical grid. Hurricane Wanda hits his town with an unexpected fury, leaving much tragedy in its wake. One positive that Kirby is left with after the storm is his newborn daughter, Wanda. The novel follows Wanda and her family for the next few decades, while Florida’s climate and landscape continues to change drastically. Wanda has to learn to live a new type of life in new surroundings. The story moves quickly some of the time, and slower at other times, but the writing pulled me into Wanda’s life and I finished the book in 2 days.

Many of the descriptions in The Light Pirate reminded me of Where the Crawdads Sing. Wanda has to learn to live in this new land and is often alone in her struggles. (She is a lover of nature and science, just as Kya was in that novel.) The supporting characters of Lucas, Wanda’s brother and Phyllis, a retired biology professor were special people in this story – both of them love Wanda and help her to adapt to her new environment. There is loss, sadness and fear of the unknown in The Light Pirate. But I loved it because of the hope, resilience and love that continued throughout Wanda’s story.

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