cover image Swarm


Lauren Carter. Brindle & Glass, $19.95 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-1-927366-20-2

Carter makes the leap from poetry and nonfiction to full-length fiction in this quiet tale of life, death, and rebirth, set against a near-future backdrop of economic collapse and increasing hardship. Cassandra ekes out a meager existence on an island along with her lover, Marvin, and their ailing friend, Thomson. Of late, she’s obsessed with feeding and taming a feral girl haunting the nearby area. Cassandra’s experiences before arriving on the island are slowly revealed through a series of flashbacks, including her dalliances with both community service and violent activism, as civilization crumbles around her. The quiet desperation and bleakness of the story line is balanced by faint optimism, personified through an ongoing focus on beehives in both past and present. The language is beautiful and emotional, fitting for a book where the action is understated and the focus is on introspection and day-to-day survival, but there’s little to connect the reader with the characters. Agent: Samantha Haywood, Transatlantic Literary Agency. (Sept.)