Extinctions: Book summary and reviews of Extinctions by Josephine Wilson

Extinctions

by Josephine Wilson

Extinctions by Josephine Wilson X
Extinctions by Josephine Wilson
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  • Published in USA  Nov 2018
    358 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

Funny, poignant, and galvanizing by turns, Josephine Wilson's award-winning novel explores many kinds of extinction - natural, racial, national, and personal - and what we might do to prevent them.

Professor Frederick Lothian, retired engineer, has quarantined himself in a place he hates: a retirement village. His headstrong wife Martha, adored by all, is dead. His adopted daughter Caroline has cut ties, and his son Callum is lost to him in his own way. And though Frederick knows, logically, that a structural engineer can devise a bridge for any situation, somehow his own troubled family - fractured by years of secrets and lies - is always just out of his reach.

When a series of unfortunate incidents brings him and his spirited next-door neighbor Jan together, Frederick gets a chance to build something new in the life he has left. At the age of 69, he has to confront his most complex emotional relationships and the haunting questions he's avoided all his life. Unbeknownst to him, Caroline - on her own journey of cultural reckoning - is doing the same. As father and daughter fight in their own ways to save what's lost, they might finally find a way toward each other.

A masterful portrait of a man caught by history, and a sweeping meditation on the meaning of family, love, survival, and identity, Extinctions asks an urgent question: can we find the courage to change? 

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Extinctions is a moving portrait of one family's secrets, missed opportunities, and hopes for another chance at life. Beautifully written, with strong, memorable characters, Wilson's latest takes readers on a deeply satisfying journey and reminds us of our power to create change." - Booklist

"Starred Review. A really fine, deeply intelligent book with so much to think about and so much unexpected hope." - Kirkus

"Wilson's American debut artfully portrays the nuances of death and extinction through its characters' reluctant self-examinations." - Publishers Weekly

"[Extinctions] has already made a significant mark on the literary landscape." - The Guardian

"Josephine Wilson's novel, Extinctions, is whip-smart, full of unexpected moves and a wonderful cast of characters. From its first sentence, the prose exhibits an unselfconscious beauty, while the voice remains both compassionate and uncompromising. A powerful, memorable read." - Karen Joy Fowler, author of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

"Smart, funny, wise, and delightful, Extinctions is pure and astonishing pleasure from start to finish. I loved this novel." - Lily King, author of Euphoria

"A novel as beautifully and intricately designed as the iconic structures retired Australian engineer, Fred Lothian, admires. An intellectual but deeply flawed man, he can't see he may be preserving the artifacts of his family's past while letting his family wither away. A masterful meditation on love, loss and the carelessness of extinction." - Helen Simonson, author of Major Pettigrew's Last Stand

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Author Information

Josephine Wilson

Josephine Wilson is a Perth-based writer. Her writing career began in the area of performance. Her early works included The Geography of Haunted Places, with Erin Hefferon, and Customs. Her first novel was Cusp. Josephine has lectured and taught in the tertiary sector. She is the busy parent of two children and works as a sessional staff member at Curtin University, where she teaches in the Humanities Honours Program, in Creative Writing and in Art and Design history. She completed her Masters of Philosophy at Queensland University and her PhD at UWA. Extinctions (UWA Publishing, 2016) was the winner of the inaugural Dorothy Hewett Prize and won the 2017 Miles Franklin Award.

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