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Sarah Blake. Clean Air (Algonquin Books, $26.95 Unsigned).
“An amazing blend of page-turning mystery, important commentary about environmental destruction, and poignant portraiture of maternal love. Sarah Blake is a poet, and it shows in her economical prose, distilled insights, and wonderfully disturbing imagery.” —ANGIE KIM, author of Miracle Creek The climate apocalypse has come and gone, and in the end it wasn’t the temperature climbing or the waters rising. It was the trees. The world became overgrown, creating enough pollen to render the air unbreathable.In the decade since the event known as the Turning, humanity has rebuilt, and Izabel has gotten used to the airtight domes that now contain her life. She raises her young daughter, Cami, and attempts to make peace with her mother’s death. She tries hard to be satisfied with this safe, prosperous new world, but instead she just feels stuck.And then the peace of her town is shattered. Someone starts slashing through the domes at night, exposing people to the deadly pollen—a serial killer. Almost simultaneously, Cami begins sleep-talking, having whole conversations about the murders that she doesn’t remember after she wakes. Izabel becomes fixated on the killer, on both tracking him down and understanding him. What could compel someone to take so many lives after years dedicated to sheer survival, with humanity finally flourishing again?
Suspenseful and startling, but also written with a wry, observant humor, Clean Air is the second novel from poet Sarah Blake, author of the award-winning literary debut Naamah. It will appeal to readers of The Need, The Leftovers, and Fever Dream as it probes motherhood, grief, control, and choice.
Sarah Blake’s novel Naamah won the National Jewish Book Award for Debut Fiction. Blake is also the author of the poetry collections Mr. West and Let’s Not Live on Earth. In 2013, she was awarded a literature fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. She currently lives in the UK.