Title: Wolfe Island
Author: Lucy Treloar
Published: August 27th 2019
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary
Rating: 4 stars
Kitty Hawke, the last inhabitant of a dying island sinking into the wind-lashed Chesapeake Bay, has resigned herself to annihilation…
Until one night her granddaughter blows ashore in the midst of a storm, desperate, begging for sanctuary. For years, Kitty has kept herself to herself – with only the company of her wolfdog, Girl – unconcerned by the world outside, or perhaps avoiding its worst excesses. But blood cannot be turned away in times like these. And when trouble comes following her granddaughter, no one is more surprised than Kitty to find she will fight to save her as fiercely as her name suggests…
A richly imagined and mythic parable of home and kin that cements Lucy Treloar’s place as one of our most acclaimed novelists.
Lucy Treloar, the award winning author of Salt Creek, returns to the literary scene with her second impressionistic novel titled Wolfe Island. Set away from Australia on the fictional surrounds of the US marshlands of Chesapeake Bay, Wolfe Island is a dramatic, atmospheric and observant study of humanity in the face of climate disaster. Wolfe Island will haul you in from chapter one, until the endnote.
Kitty Hawke is the central and lone protagonist in Lucy Treloar’s second novel. Kitty is the last inhabitant on an island located in the Chesapeake Bay region in the United States. Kitty knows that one day, due to the rising seas, her island retreat will be swallowed by the ocean. One day Kitty’s secluded existence changes when a family member arrives on the shores of her island, requesting safety. While Kitty struggles to accept that her solo existence may have come to an end, she cannot turn her own granddaughter away in her time of need. When a dangerous threat comes to attack Kitty’s granddaughter, Kitty must make the ultimate sacrifice. What follows is a perilous journey as Kitty and her offspring must find safety
Wolfe Island is quite the departure from Salt Creek, the first novel penned by Lucy Treloar, which I read back in 2017. Where Salt Creek was set on our shores and in the past, Wolfe Island is set in the near future and in the US. However, these two books have the ocean in common, which is a themed carried over from one book to the other.
Revisiting the writing of Lucy Treloar reminded of what a command of prose she possesses. Treloar’s words are lyrical, drifting and incredibly vivid. The imagery is dense and Treloar manages the squeeze in as much detail as she can about the surrounding environment, nature, flora and fauna within the observant pages of this novel. It really is a gift for the literary minded reader.
The sense of place, ultimate destruction, doom and foreboding that is expressed within the pages of Wolfe Island is ever strong. Treloar is a delicate storyteller, weaving an intricate story, complete with unexpected deviations, turns, moments of revelation and suspense. The structure taken by Lucy Treloar to Wolfe Island increases the engagement of the reader in this novel. The book is divided into three set parts and there are time shifts, which are often marked by seasonal changes. Accompanying the main narrative crux are observations made by Kitty, lists of visitors to the island, inventories of trash items collected on the island, lists of dragonflies, emergency survival pack items, wish-lists and show pieces. These additional aspects all culminate to provide another layer to this complex story. There were times where I had to really concentrate to situate myself in the locale and happenings in Wolfe Island, but once I settled into the flow of this novel I did enjoy it.
There are a range implicit themes that Lucy Treloar draws our attention to in her second novel. These include, human bonds, family ties, love, relationships, obligations, protection, trust, isolation, survival, dislocation, sanctuary and inequality. The broader concept of climate change, stemming from the changing nature of the ocean, serves as a forewarning of what is to come if we continue to abuse, rather than respect our environment. With the aid of a strong and mature female protagonist, with her loyal canine companion, Wolfe Island is an unusual and compelling cautionary tale from Lucy Treloar.
Wolfe Island by Lucy Treloar was published on 27th August 2019 by Pan Macmillan. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.
To learn more about the author of Wolfe Island, Lucy Treloar, visit here.
*Thanks extended to Pan Macmillan for providing a free copy of this book for review purposes.
Wolfe Island is book #113 of the 2019 Australian Women Writers Challenge
Pan Macmillan are kindly offering 1 lucky reader an opportunity to win a copy of Wolfe Island, Lucy Treloar’s latest release. Simply leave a comment below on this post to be entered into this great competition! Good luck!
*Competition open to Australian postal addresses only. Closes Tuesday 10th September 2019, 11pm (WST).