cover image Vigil Harbor

Vigil Harbor

Julia Glass. Pantheon, $29 (416p) ISBN 978-1-101-87038-9

National Book Award winner Glass (A House Among the Trees) adds mystery and adventure to an engrossing near-future story of the perils of climate change. Covid-19 is in the rearview, but things are far from the old normal. Serial terrorist bombings target New York City’s Union Square, Cambridge’s Harvard Yard, and other places throughout the U.S. as a catastrophic tsunami threatens the Northeast. Austin Kepner, a renowned architect of houses for clients seeking “postmarital solitude,” welcomes his stepson, Brecht, back to their small “almost island” Massachusetts fishing town after he drops out of college. There, Brecht discovers “weird weather, weird politics, and weird relationships.” The last involves strangers who show up, among them Petra Coyle, who claims to be a journalist commissioned to do a documentary on Austin; Ernesto Soltera, a purported old friend of a local landscaper; and Issa, an artist’s model with no navel and “pearly skin,” who the locals believe is a selkie, a creature from Celtic myth that’s half-person, half-seal. As the story unfolds, Glass skillfully reveals Issa’s connections to Petra and Austin, and a heart-pounding hostage episode ratchets up the tension as multiple secret identities and several romantic triangles are exposed, leading to a satisfying conclusion. Both nightmarish and enjoyable, this will have readers hooked for the long haul. (May)