Marrow Island by Alexis M. Smith

marrowTwenty years ago, Lucie was a young girl living on an isolated island in the Puget Sound. Twenty years ago, an earthquake devastated that region, sending tidal waves that ranged all the way from the coast of Alaska to the coast of California. Now an unemployed journalist, she returns to her childhood home after receiving a mysterious letter from Katie, a fellow survivor and former best friend. Katie says she is living on Marrow Island’s “Colony”, which, following the oil refinery disaster that killed Lucie’s father the day of the quake, is supposed to be uninhabitable. Curious and with nowhere else to go, Lucie feels pulled to investigate. What she finds is beyond her wildest imagination.

Told in alternating timelines, Smith’s sophomore novel features the same gorgeous language present in Glaciers, her wonderful debut. Part eco-thriller, part environmental meditation, it is a pleasure to unravel what happened, as the novel opens with Lucie’s rescue. At times, the dual timelines – 2014 and 2016 – can be slightly disjointed, but it was nothing that deterred my reading, and it did add a nice touch of mystery. Contrary to my mild disappointment over the closeness in times, I couldn’t help but fall in love with the area as described by Smith. It’s moody and atmospheric, and her descriptions are stunning. I appreciate when a novel utilizes a character’s close connection to the environment and surrounding landscape, and Marrow Island is a prime example of this done well. It’s quite an immersive reading experience. If you love a good mystery with an added post-disaster element, think California or Station Eleven, pick this one up immediately.

14 thoughts on “Marrow Island by Alexis M. Smith

  1. It seems to be a bit of a literary trend at the moment, the eco theme (my most recent one was The World Without Us by Mireille Juchau which referenced diseases attacking bees and the broader implications on the whole environment).


    1. It is! I read an interesting article recently about this, it gave it a catchy term… Can I remember it right now? No. But I will look it up.


    2. WordPress sometimes eats my replies I’ve noticed…

      Anyway, I do think it’s a trend. I read an article the other that referred to the rise of that type of literature as “cli-fi” which is kind of catchy.


  2. I’m really anticipating this one, and I’m not sure I was so much until I started seeing all the raves about it. The synopsis grabbed me, but it’s like watching a bunch of kids eat ice cream – even though I don’t really want one at the time…I really want one because they made me.


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