cover image The Displacements

The Displacements

Bruce Holsinger. Riverhead, $27 (448p) ISBN 978-0-593-18971-9

In Holsinger’s harrowing novel of environmental disaster (after The Gifted School), an unprecedented category 6 hurricane obliterates Miami and disrupts a once-charmed family. Before the storm hits, Daphne Larsen-Hall has a great life—pampered wife of a wealthy surgeon, with a two-million-dollar home in Coral Gables and two bright children, Oliver and Mia. But after Hurricane Luna, Daphne’s life is upended. Homeless and penniless due to a cascading series of setbacks, she and the children end up evacuated to a megashelter in Oklahoma run by no-nonsense FEMA official Rain Holton. There, among 10,000 other evacuees, her sullen stepson Gavin falls under the spell of two drug dealers and Mia becomes obsessed with playing a kids’ game called Range. Then, after the final indignity of losing her wedding and engagement rings, Daphne decides to become an art teacher in the camp. Two months in, many evacuees have formed “ethnic enclaves,” including one called Crackertown, which Holsinger describes as a “dark edge of pride in [the whites’] self-designation.” Then Rain contends with a new weather emergency threatening the shelter. Holsinger does a good job exploring the country’s cultural and economic divisions and the effects of climate change, and is even better with the characters and their ever-mounting problems. This story of displacement and desperation packs a wallop. (July)