Named one of NPR's Best Books of 2021
From the author of Annihilation, a brilliant speculative thriller of dark conspiracy, endangered species, and the possible end of all things.
Security consultant “Jane Smith” receives an envelope with a key to a storage unit that holds a taxidermied hummingbird and clues leading her to a taxidermied salamander. Silvina, the dead woman who left the note, is a reputed ecoterrorist and the daughter of an Argentine industrialist. By taking the hummingbird from the storage unit, Jane sets in motion a series of events that quickly spin beyond her control.
Soon, Jane and her family are in danger, with few allies to help her make sense of the true scope of the peril. Is the only way to safety to follow in Silvina’s footsteps? Is it too late to stop? As she desperately seeks answers about why Silvina contacted her, time is running out—for her and possibly for the world.
Hummingbird Salamander is Jeff VanderMeer at his brilliant, cinematic best, wrapping profound questions about climate change, identity, and the world we live in into a tightly plotted thriller full of unexpected twists and elaborate conspiracy.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
An envelope from a stranger turns a woman’s life upside down in this timely eco-thriller from one of our favorite writers, Jeff VanderMeer. When security analyst Jane Smith is handed a package containing a key and an address, she has no inkling of the bizarre road that lays before her. From the taxidermy hummingbird she finds in a storage locker to the infamous eco-activist who put it there, the mystery at the heart of this novel becomes an obsession that Jane can’t shake, even when it spells imminent danger for her family. The author of such unsettling bestsellers as Annihilation and Borne packs his story with fascinating details about the tracking of endangered species and wildlife-smuggling cartels. He spins a cautionary tale of impending environmental disaster, portraying a near-future where unpredictable weather patterns and scary pandemics have become as ubiquitous as background noise, and where wide-scale bioterrorism is an increasingly real possibility. That unsettling subtext just raises the stakes of Jane’s quest to save the world. We couldn’t put down Hummingbird Salamander.
Set in a world far along the path to ecological and political breakdown, this striking mix of thriller and biotech speculative fiction from VanderMeer (Dead Astronauts) charts a seemingly mad quest by its anonymous narrator, who suggests the reader call her Jane Smith. One morning at a coffee shop in an unspecified city in the Pacific Northwest, where Jane does somewhat nebulous work at a security firm, a barista hands Jane an envelope with a storage unit address, a key, and a note. In the storage unit, Jane finds a box containing a preserved hummingbird and a note with the words Hummingbird and Salamander, signed Silvina. Thus begins Jane's quixotic effort to discover the whereabouts and fate of probable ecoterrorist Silvina Vilcapampa, as well as the salamander mate to the hummingbird. Jane's traveling to New York City in search of Silvina alerts mysterious foes. Attacks on Jane and her work colleagues as well as surveillance of her home prompt her to abandon her husband and teenage daughter and embark on a yearslong, possibly fruitless quest to discover the truth. Exquisite prose pulls the reader deep into the labyrinthine plot. VanderMeer reinforces his place as one of today's most innovative writers.
This is a great author with unique ideas. I enjoyed this book. Took me all of twelve hours to read. Gives you a lot to think about.
Brilliantly written about the ruination of our planet&beginning of the end. Amazing
This guy is amazing and has once again done what he is absolutely genius at. There’s no other author or writer who has the distinct mellifluous and philosophical sense which he’s imbued in this novel. While learning the plight of the protagonist and antagonist and the context of his story, you cannot help but be emotionally impacted and challenged to asking yourself the hard questions of what you’d do in a similar situation and what could be a resolution for the conflicts that arise. He’s brilliantly talented and a book discussing an end of the world dystopian society and the inherent Beaty of nature and flora fauna and the planets sentient beings really hits home and becomes very discouraging yet relevant and relatable to present day Americans who aren’t concerned nearly enough about the damages irreparable and irreversible deaths caused by the disregard and selfish narcissism the entire country seems to have adapted and accepted.
This book wakes you up again to your true and fundamental purpose here on the planet and will have you making life changes even if the rest of your community isn’t. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how many aren’t adhering to the crisis around us but what matters and makes the difference is the one person who does care and does make radical changes and decisions for the betterment of the circumstances before them.