For readers of The Night Circus and Station Eleven, a lyrical and absorbing debut set in a world covered by water
As a Gracekeeper, Callanish administers shoreside burials, laying the dead to their final resting place deep in the depths of the ocean. Alone on her island, she has exiled herself to a life of tending watery graves as penance for a long-ago mistake that still haunts her. Meanwhile, North works as a circus performer with the Excalibur, a floating troupe of acrobats, clowns, dancers, and trainers who sail from one archipelago to the next, entertaining in exchange for sustenance.
In a world divided between those inhabiting the mainland ("landlockers") and those who float on the sea ("damplings"), loneliness has become a way of life for North and Callanish, until a sudden storm offshore brings change to both their lives--offering them a new understanding of the world they live in and the consequences of the past, while restoring hope in an unexpected future.
Inspired in part by Scottish myths and fairytales, The Gracekeepers tells a modern story of an irreparably changed world: one that harbors the same isolation and sadness, but also joys and marvels of our own age.
— Finalist, Lambda Literary Award
Logan (The Rental Heart and Other Fairytales) combines elements of folk and fairy tales with a near-future landscape in her debut novel. Rising sea waters have turned Earth into a series of archipelagos and its population into two types: landlockers, who control the dwindling resources on land, and damplings, who make their home on boats at sea. Callanish is a so-called gracekeeper, living in self-imposed solitude on an isolated island, taking payment in food and supplies for providing underwater burial rituals for damplings. North along with her beloved dancing bear companion is the star of a ramshackle circus that travels by boat from island to island. Both young women have secrets, and when they meet each other in the wake of a tragedy, they begin to imagine a possibility for a third kind of life, one that might bridge the divide between land and sea. The narration incorporates the voices of North and Callanish, other circus folk, and Callanish's family and acquaintances, building a convincing world. Filled with evocative images, including cruise ships transformed into itinerant revival meetings, and with classic fairy tale elements such as world trees and selkies, Logan's novel imbues what is essentially an environmental fable with the heft of myth.
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Enchanting & lovely book, quite imaginative, with just the right amount of detail. Looked forward to each evening's reading session, but was disappointed by the rather flat, bland ending to such a lush delicious tale. Perhaps a sequel is in the works?