March 2020| Fiction | 978-1-948814-16-4 | 342 pp | $18.95
by Susan M. Gaines
When Gabriel’s mother decides to repatriate to her native Uruguay after thirty years in California, he takes a break from his uninspiring desk job to accompany her. At first, Gabe observes his mother’s squabbling family in the same detached way he watches the new species of birds he encounters in the marsh on their neglected land—but when he falls in love with a local biologist, he is suddenly transformed from observer to the main character in his family’s transnational saga. As Gabe and Alejandra struggle to confront the environmental devastation of their twenty-first-century future, they find themselves mired in the mud of their parents'—and their countries'—Cold War–era past.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
SUSAN M. GAINES is known for melding science and natural history into literary fiction. Her 2001 novel Carbon Dreams was an early contribution to the genres now variously known as cli-fi, eco-fiction, and lab-lit or science in fiction. Her novel Accidentals takes on both environmental and political themes, and her non-fiction book Echoes of Life combines literary prose and narrative in a scientific account of discoveries in the earth sciences. Raised in California, Gaines has spent much of her adult life in South America, where Accidentals is set, and in Europe, where she is a founding director of the Fiction Meets Science program at the University of Bremen.
PRAISE FOR ACCIDENTALS
“A rich portrait of a country and its people, relayed with detail and wonder, thanks to a naturalist’s eye.”
“Gaines’ novel is deeply researched, and the reader will walk away with an understanding of not only Uruguay’s repressive regimes, but also biomes, bird preservation, and more.”
“The personal is political: if anybody has ever wondered what this insight means then I recommend Accidentals as an enchanting path toward understanding. This novel of a young man’s transformation, from passive observation to passionate engagement masterfully encompasses so many levels, from the biology of microbes to the chaos of politics and the mysteries of the human heart, with every level rendered fascinating by the author’s extraordinary powers of observation. This is a novel that is, above all, about how seeing is an act of love. A profound and moving experience awaits the reader.”
—REBECCA NEWBERGER GOLDSTEIN, author of Plato at the Googleplex
“In clean, beautiful prose and with an environmental sensibility evocative of Stegner, Accidentals sings with the vibrancy of the living world . . . erudite and emotionally compelling, suffused with science and natural history.”
— CHRISTIAN KIEFFER, author of Phantoms
“This is a book about all the things we don't yet know; all the things we know but keep hidden; and all the things we once knew but have lost. Gorgeous, smart, and surprising . . .
Also with birds!”
— KAREN JOY FOWLER, author of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
“An intimate family story with an astonishingly epic scope. Alive with history, politics, science, romance, and birds, it is as entertaining as it is intelligent, as beautiful as it is wise.”
— JEAN HEGLAND, author of Still Time
“A captivating novel centered around love lost, regained, and fashioned anew, a mix of cultures, and efforts to reclaim land and heritage. All this against a backdrop of discovering and recording the lives of birds in the wild with forces human- and climate-driven pressing on their survival. Deeply moving and powerful.”
— SHERYL COTLEUR, Copperfield's books