Lungfish: Book summary and reviews of Lungfish by Meghan Gilliss

Lungfish

A Novel

by Meghan Gilliss

Lungfish by Meghan Gilliss X
Lungfish by Meghan Gilliss
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Book Summary

Tuck is slow to understand the circumstances that have driven her family to an uninhabited island off the coast of Maine, the former home of her deceased grandmother where she once spent her childhood summers. Squatting there now, she must care for her spirited young daughter and scrape together enough money to leave before winter arrives - or before they are found out.

Relying on the island for sustenance and answers—bladderwrack, rosehips, tenacious little green crabs; smells held by the damp walls of the house, field guides and religious texts, a failed invention left behind by her missing father—Tuck lives moment-by-moment through the absurdity, beauty, paranoia, and hunger that shoots through her life, as her husband struggles to detox.

Exquisitely written and formally daring, Lungfish tells the story of a woman grappling through the lies she has been told—and those she has told herself—to arrive at the truth of who she is and where she must go. Meghan Gilliss's debut is a brilliant and heartbreaking novel about addiction, doubt, marriage, motherhood, and learning to see in the dark.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Gilliss debuts with a pungent and riveting story set on a tiny, isolated Maine island...Gilliss shines with a lyrical style and bold, fragmented structure...Tuck's resilience makes her an indelible creation. Out of a tangible sense of desperation, Gilliss produces a triumph." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Gilliss is an extraordinary writer; passages of the novel read like poetry, and others read like a lyric essay...The peril the family is in keeps the pages flying...As startling and intense as the windswept landscape the book depicts." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Gilliss' debut novel paints an aching picture of life at the fringes of American society...The hallucinatory and poetic prose, including gorgeous descriptions of the island's natural beauty, feels right for a woman who is consumed with hunger not only for food but also for a semblance of normalcy and love...When society has passed you by, when you have to boil kelp for sustenance, every lived moment is a lesson in how to stay alive." - Booklist (starred review)

"Lungfish is a novel steeped in the harshness and beauty of the natural world, in which islands may be both real and metaphorical, where a woman may be accompanied by child and husband but also alone in navigating grief and responsibility...Atmospheric, haunted, but struck through with beauty and love, Lungfish is one to remember." - Shelf Awareness

"Lungfish offers up journeys physical and psychic, so it's fitting that it takes place on an island, which is a transitional place. It's about families, past and present, and the lifelines they provide, along with their often tangled confusions. The revelations about the natural world are wonderful, and give a sense of what endures." - Ann Beattie

"Lungfish is as suspenseful as a thriller, as finely wrought as a poem, and as heartbreaking as a love song. Meghan Gilliss is an extraordinary writer. I loved this book." - Kate Christensen, author of The Last Cruise

"Meghan Gilliss's Lungfish is a force of nature—a deeply felt marvel of a book that navigates grief, parenthood, and the mysteries of family with unrelenting power and precision. Here is a story about the islands we build and carry with us. Here is storytelling at its best." - Paul Yoon, author of Snow Hunters and Run Me to Earth

This information about Lungfish was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Meghan Gilliss

Meghan Gilliss attended the Bennington Writing Seminars and is a fellow of the Hewnoaks Artist Residency. She has worked as a journalist, a bookseller, a librarian, and a hospital worker, and lives in Portland, Maine. Lungfish is her first novel.

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