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Clean Air

par Sarah Blake

MembresCritiquesPopularitéÉvaluation moyenneMentions
404563,124 (3.44)9
"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.  … (plus d'informations)
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It’s been ten years since the trees had begun releasing massive amounts of pollen, making the air too toxic to breathe. At first there was a massive die off of humans, beginning of course with the young and elderly. There were pockets of humans who survived – mostly those in hospitals and other buildings with air purification equipment.

But now, things have stabilized. The humans are living in highly airtight pods with intensive filtration. Young children are appearing again.

Izabel, her husband (formerly a surgeon, now a driver of robotic harvesting machines), and their young daughter seem to have a life that is normalizing.

That is until someone punches a hole in one of the domes, causing instant death of the family in this formerly murder-less society. It happens a second time. And a third. People are terrified. Izabel has the feeling it may be someone who knows her; worse yet it seems to be someone that knows where she lives. And strangely enough, her daughter seems to be able to channel the killer - or someone watching the killer.

I thought this was an interesting world. The author has set it up for Izabel to become a detective. Will more sequels follow in this post-apolcalyptic detective series? ( )
  streamsong | Oct 7, 2022 |
I rarely read books set into the future. But this after the climate change aka the turning captured me. First of all, the luscious picture of fruit on the cover would not let me pass it by.

Then the idea that climate changed had killed most the earth's population and the survivors and first generation after that live in plastic domes. They will die if they do not were protective masks and go through a system of locks to enter a different dome. There are cars still but they have to be protected from the outside environment. After the turning, trees thrived and loaded the air with so much pollen that it could kill you. I could envision the huge pollen gathering and entering crevaces in domes that were not adquately protected.

Why did I get excited by this future setting. I have asthma and get very sick if I go outside on high pollen days. It was not all bad, the blueberries grown in their pods were enormous, strawberries fist sized and articokes were basketball size.

There is a homemaker by the name of Izabell, a husband named Kaito and their young daughter, Cami, who sleeps with her eyes open.

Enriching the story are: a Japanese folktale, magical realism, a gentle tree named Elm, a serial killer who slashes the domes and Izabel's memory of what it was like before the turning. I enjoyed this trip into a different time period. There were things I found to be strange and that which was familar like the pollen (in an exaggerated way). ( )
  Carolee888 | Mar 29, 2022 |
Clean Air by Sarah Blake has elements of dystopian, speculative fiction, a family drama, a murder mystery, and magical realism. Unfortunately, I don’t really get it. The different genres mix together in the book but, for me, do not coalesce into a whole. For me, part of the reason may be that the characters do not become real. I walk away unsatisfied and not the reader for this one.

Read my complete review at http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2022/02/clean-air.html

Reviewed for NetGalley and a publisher’s blog tour. ( )
  njmom3 | Feb 12, 2022 |
The future didn’t happen the way humanity had expected. Instead, the earth’s trees went into attack mode, releasing massive amounts of pollen that eventually claimed the lives of the old and the young. Survivors live in plastic bubbles and wear masks for the few minutes they might be outdoors. Clean air can only be found in sealed, controlled, environments. Ten years after half the world’s population died, society was having a renaissance.

Izabel and her husband Kaito are lucky to have a child, four-year-old Cami. Kaito works remotely with the robots that harvest food. Izabel is a traditional stay-at-home mother; she doesn’t claim basic income because her husband’s job gives them enough to live on.

After the horror of the Turning and the deaths of millions, Izabel never expected humanity would resort to violence again. Everyone has all that they need. Then, a senseless act of murder occurs in their town. An unknown assailant has slashed the plastic bubble of a home, killing the family within. At the same time, Cami begins talk in her sleep, holding conversations that indicate foreknowledge of the murder’s plans.

When Izabel tries to intercept the next murder, she manages to save the life of one child but now is known to the murderer, and this leads to consequences she could never have imagined. Izabel is determined to protect her child and to stop the murders. She is a protective and proactive mother who understands that “sometimes love is a decision,” and acts on it.

The future society in Clean Air is original. Izabel watches old news and television shows for entertainment. Trees are the enemy. There are shopping malls and temples where you can have your cards.

What rose up in place of religion was a revitalization of the spiritual and the unexplained. People wanted to believe there was an energy in the universe that connected everyone and everything, an energy that could articulate those connections, provide feedback, clarity, if one knew how to hold the conversation.

from Clean Air by Sarah Blake
Japanese folk tales inform the story, including the tree spirit called kodoma which figures heavily in the story.

Central to the story is the memorable Cami, a precisely drawn child, at once a normal four-year-old and a sagacious old soul.

The writing is clean, direct, without emotional or stylistic embellishment. You know the character’s inner lives through their actions.

Clean Air is a unique novel, one that crosses genres and interests, and I believe even age groups.

I received a free ARC from the publisher in exchange for a fair and unbiased review. ( )
  nancyadair | Dec 14, 2021 |
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"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.  

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