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Blaze Island

Blaze Island

365 pages
Published:   September 1, 2020
Fiction  /  Novels
Paperback:   9781773101057   $24.95

One of "Fiction's Buzziest Books," Globe and Mail Fall Books Preview
20 Books We Can’t Wait to Read, Toronto Star Summer Books Preview
"Timely . . . a gripping page-turner" — Elle Canada

For those who loved Barbara Kingsolver's Flight Behavior comes a new climate-themed, Shakespeare-inspired novel from bestselling author Catherine Bush.

The time is now or an alternate near now, the world close to our own. A Category Five hurricane sweeps up the eastern seaboard of North America, leaving devastation in its wake, its outer wings brushing over tiny Blaze Island. During this wild night, a stranger washes up on the doorstep of the isolated house where Milan Wells lives with his daughter Miranda.

A climate scientist whose career was destroyed by climate change deniers, Wells has fled to this remote island with his daughter years before, desperate to protect her from the world's worsening weather.

Seemingly safe in her father's realm, Miranda walks the island's rocky shores, helping her father with his daily weather records. But the stranger's arrival breaks open Miranda's world, stirs up memories of events of long ago and compels her to wonder what her father is up to with his mysterious weather experiments. In the aftermath of the storm, she finds herself in a world altered so quickly that she hardly knows what has happened or what the unpredictable future will bring.
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Catherine Bush is the author of five novels, including Blaze Island, the Canada Reads long-listed Accusation, the Trillium Award shortlisted Claire's Head, The Rules of Engagement, a New York Times Notable Book and a L.A. Times Best Book of the Year, and Minus Time, shortlisted for the City of Toronto Book Award. She was recently a Fiction Meets Science Fellow at the HWK in Germany and has spoken internationally about addressing the climate crisis in fiction. She is Coordinator of the University of Guelph Creative Writing MFA and can be found online at She lives in Toronto.


"Blaze Island is a fascinating and prescient story. With climate change as the backdrop, Catherine Bush’s lyrical portrait of the northern island landscape and a young woman’s passion for the land offers a frightening warning of how big business will surely adapt to the changes to benefit itself. Bush’s story is compelling — we watch the hurricane unfold, as only a brilliant writer can show us — and offers a moving and soulful primer for climate survival. " — Shani Mootoo

"Bush’s Blaze Island is a fierce box of wind. Open its cover and you feel at once the fury of the weather to come, the future of the planet in novel form." — Brad Kessler

"Climate change is both an external and internal phenomenon in Catherine Bush’s brilliant new novel, Blaze Island — an ever-moving storm of emotion and politics that unfolds under churning skies and life-or-death stakes. Bush brings together a complicated cast of three-dimensional men and women, all fighting with and against each other in the name of saving the planet ... or making a buck." — Michael Redhill

"Riveting and morally complex, this is a beautiful, kaleidoscopic work that offers a resounding reply to the question of how literature might wrestle with the deepest threat facing the planet, anthropogenic climate change. In the absence of saviours and easy consolation, what Bush has created is an allegory of hubris and humility and an exhilarating space in which to re-imagine multi-species relationships and stories." — Kyo Maclear

"Blaze Island is a beautiful, far-seeing, and fiercely intelligent novel about the most critical question of our time. Every sentence has the lush exactitude of a poem — and the book, as it stuns and pivots, the stampeding heart of a thriller." — Claudia Dey

"Catherine Bush’s cast of characters roam Blaze Island after a storm of mythical strength, amid a welter of blown-off roofs, smashed windows, sunken vehicles, blazing desire, and destruction. Bush’s prose is a lightning storm in the dark of climate crisis — gothic, forceful, and beautifully intimate. Here is the majesty and awe of unleashed nature and we are caught in the grip. Swept away. This novel is sublime." — Lisa Moore

"In the famous end of The Tempest, Prospero asks that the audience free him and the other characters from the dream of the play. Blaze Island amounts to a similar request. To deny or ignore our changing world is to stay willfully dreaming." — Bookshelf

"She points out a dire situation that climate change could bring and offers us food for thought towards a better future." — The Miramichi Reader

"[Miranda is] the daughter of a renowned climate scientist whose reputation has been shredded by a hostile establishment determined to discredit his warnings of environmental catastrophe. The two end up in exile on a tiny island in the North Atlantic, setting the stage for an elegantly crafted story that also proves to be a sizzling ecological thriller." — O

"[Bush] creates characters who are grappling with issues that extend beyond their domestic lives, encompassing broader public threats or concerns. In Blaze Island, she lays out a very real and present dilemma that each character confronts differently." — NUVO Magazine

"Blaze Island raises more than eyebrows. There are deep and daunting questions raised and readers will never look at a cloudy sky the same." — Alphabet Soup

"The novel poses morally complex questions. It does so with the tautness of a thriller and the luxuriant precision of poetry." — Atlantic Books Today

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