The Lightkeepers

The Lightkeepers

Book - 2016
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Winner of the 2016 B&N Discover Great New Writers Award for Fiction

In The Lightkeepers , we follow Miranda, a nature photographer who travels to the Farallon Islands, an exotic and dangerous archipelago off the coast of California, for a one-year residency capturing the landscape. Her only companions are the scientists studying there, odd and quirky refugees from the mainland living in rustic conditions; they document the fish populations around the island, the bold trio of sharks called the Sisters that hunt the surrounding waters, and the overwhelming bird population who, attimes, create the need to wear hard hats as protection from their attacks.

Shortly after her arrival, Miranda is assaulted by one of the inhabitants of the islands. A few days later, her assailant is found dead, perhaps the result of an accident. As the novel unfolds, Miranda gives witness to the natural wonders of this special place as she grapples with what has happened to her and deepens her connection (and her suspicions) to her companions, while falling under the thrall of the legends of the place nicknamed "the Islands of the Dead." And when more violence occurs, each member of this strange community falls under suspicion.

The Lightkeepers upends the traditional structure of a mystery novel --an isolated environment, a limited group of characters who might not be trustworthy, a death that may or may not have been accidental, a balance of discovery and action --while also exploring wider themes of the natural world, the power of loss, and the nature of recovery. It is a luminous debut novel from a talented and provocative new writer.
Publisher: Berkeley, CA : Counterpoint, c2016
ISBN: 9781619026001
Branch Call Number: FIC Geni
Characteristics: 361 pages ; 24 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Feb 17, 2019

Can't say I enjoyed it, halfway through I flipped to the ending.

Sep 18, 2017

Photographer Miranda joins a group of biologists in the Farallon Islands off the California coast, joining them in their season-to-season interactions with the wildlife that migrates into the island’s environs.

Elegiac. Miranda writes as if writing to her beloved mother, deceased since Miranda’s childhood. An unusual book with some twists in the plot. Lots of observing. But, I lost interest and skimmed to the end.

Jul 01, 2017

There is a great deal of violence in this book. It takes multiple forms: animals killing animals, animals killing people, and people killing people. The Farallon Islands where Miranda is supposedly doing a benign activity - nature photography - truly become islands of death. All the other humans on the island are scientists whose overriding policy concerning nature is non-intervention. They are present to observe nature not to intervene in any way in the lives of the birds, seals, whales or any other creature. This policy is to be observed even when it is contradicts "human" emotions, i.e. if a baby seal is headed away from its mother and will die unless the observer simply turns it around. So how does non-intervention apply to human interactions and violence?? This question remains unanswered until the very end. Recommend, but be aware of graphic violence... Kristi & Abby Tabby Audiobook available thru MNLINK

Aug 16, 2016

Miranda, a photographer, joins a group of biologists on the Farallon Islands off the coast of San Francisco. While there she observes the credo of the biologist of non-interference. Animals must be observed only. Life and death must be allowed to happen as it will. But how can people consign themselves to a life of observation over participation? Will Miranda observe only, or undertake the ultimate interference with other living things? Good and very atmospheric book. Nature is a character in this book, not just a setting.

athompson10 Aug 12, 2016

Sinister and creepy. Lots of interesting information about nature on an imagined wildlife preserve off the California coast.

Jun 22, 2016

Elegiac. Atmospheric. Nature, red in tooth and claw. I loved the way human behaviour is shown to be as interesting as that of any other animal.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at PLYMC

To Top