The Sunlight Pilgrims by Jenni Fagan
Published March 24, 2016 by Hogarth
Genres Dystopian, Science Fiction
It’s November of 2020, and the world is freezing over, each day colder than the last. There’s snow in Israel; the Thames is overflowing; and an iceberg separated from the Fjords in Norway is expected to drift just off the coast of Scotland. As ice water melts into the Atlantic, frenzied London residents evacuate by the thousands for warmer temperatures down south–but not Dylan. Grieving and ready to build life anew, he heads north to bury his mother’s and grandmother’s ashes on the Scottish islands where they once lived. Hundreds of miles away, twelve-year-old Estella and her survivalist mother, Constance, scrape by in the snowy, mountainous Highlands, preparing for a record-breaking winter. Living out of a caravan, they spend their days digging through landfills, searching for anything with restorative and trading value. When Dylan arrives in their caravan park in the middle of the night, life changes course for Estella and Constance. Though the weather worsens, his presence brings a new light to daily life, and when the ultimate disaster finally strikes, they’ll all be ready.
The dystopian and post-apocalyptic genres are two of my favorites so I am always eager to read new new books in these genres. The Sunlight Pilgrims starts when the world is very slowly ending as a new ice age begins. However, one of the reasons this wasn’t my favorite book was that the ice age itself wasn’t really the main focus of the book, it was more around the characters and their lives. I prefer books in this genre that focus on both, as I am interested in both the characters and the event that is causing the world to change or society to end as we knew it. Although the temperature slowly drops throughout the book, the story was more focused on the characters and their lives. And this isn’t your typical post-apocalyptic book either and the only way I can think to describe is gradual. There aren’t any characters frantically trying to gather supplies or find a way out of town, in fact the book seems to focus more on topics such as family and love.
Overall, the book was interesting, it just wasn’t exactly what I had expected it to be. And also the format of the book annoying me a bit because instead of using quotations marks when a character is speaking, the author uses a dash, which I found to be a bit odd. I also just never really connected with the main character Dylan, so I just didn’t get that invested in the story. I did enjoy the author’s writing, minus the lack of quotation marks and do planning on reading the other book she has written.
Thank you to the publisher, Hogarth, for sending me a review copy of this book.