“THE SUNLIGHT PILGRIMS,”
BY JENNI FAGAN
PUBLISHER: HOGARTH; JULY 19, 2016
Synopsis: It’s November of 2020, and the world is freezing over. Each day colder than the last. There’s snow in Israel, the Thames is overflowing, and an iceberg separated from the Fjords in Norway is expected to drift just off the coast of Scotland. As ice water melts into the Atlantic, frenzied London residents evacuate by the thousands for warmer temperatures down south. But not Dylan. Grieving and ready to build life anew, he heads north to bury his mother’s and grandmother’s ashes on the Scottish islands where they once lived.
Hundreds of miles away, twelve-year-old Estella and her survivalist mother, Constance, scrape by in the snowy, mountainous Highlands, preparing for a record-breaking winter. Living out of a caravan, they spend their days digging through landfills, searching for anything with restorative and trading value. When Dylan arrives in their caravan park in the middle of the night, life changes course for Estella and Constance. Though the weather worsens, his presence brings a new light to daily life, and when the ultimate disaster finally strikes, they’ll all be ready.
Written in incandescent, dazzling prose, The Sunlight Pilgrims is a visionary story of courage and resilience in the midst of nature’s most violent hour; by turns an homage to the portentous beauty of our natural world, and to just how strong we can be, if the will and the hope is there, to survive its worst.
So, I have had “The Sunlight Pilgrims” for about a week or so and was really excited to read this new novel by Jenni Fagan. The synopsis sounded really cool and unique, and just different from things I’ve read recently. This is something I never do – I am writing a review for a book that I was unable to finish. I love all genres of books, am a fast reader, and love reading. However, I could not get into this story and could not connect with any of the characters. The plot sounded good when I read the description of this book, but unfortunately, it read more like a textbook or some sort of how-to manual. There were several times I would come to the end of the page and then realize I had no what the hell I had read on that page, so I would go back and re-read it, but it was just as slow and boring as the first time.
As far as the characters, Stella is absolutely the most interesting. Stella is transgender and has been changing from male to female over the past year. Doctors would not give her the medication to stop the change due to her age, so she’s been coming to terms with going from being a boy to a girl. Her mother, Constance, has several love interests and other than trying to support her daughter through her changes, she just didn’t stand out. Dylan has lost his mother and grandmother within 6 months of each other and is heading north to the caravan and to spread their ashes. I empathize with the loss of his family, but Dylan was just too pathetic for me to take.
With all of that being said, remember I did not finish this book. It may have all come together in some exciting ending, etc. but I just couldn’t do it. Reviews on this book are mixed so check it out for yourself if the synopsis sounds interesting. “The Sunlight Pilgrims” just was not the book for me.
*Disclaimer: I received this novel from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.