book cover of This Impossible Brightness
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This Impossible Brightness

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Taking refuge on a remote island, a grieving woman develops unlikely connections with the community and the wild in this haunting novel of hope and perseverance from debut author Jessica Bryant Klagmann.

After the mysterious disappearance of her fiancé, Alma Hughes moves to a remote island in the North Atlantic, where she hopes to weather her grief and nurture her ailing dog. But the strange town of Violette has mysteries as well.

Townsfolk say that the radio tower overlooking their town broadcasts messages through their home appliances, their dreams, even the sea itself. When lightning strikes the tower, illuminating the sky in a brilliant flash, Alma finds herself caught in the unexplainable aftermath of one of Violette’s deadliest storms.

As the sea consumes the island, threatening its very existence, the deaths and lost memories of the recently departed also devastate the community. Alma, with a unique link to the lost, may be the only one who can help them move on. But to do so, she must confront a tragic loss of her own.

On this doomed island haunted by echoes of the departed, Alma searches for meaning in her future—and dares to discover the power of hope among the living.

Genre: Literary Fiction

Praise for this book

"In the eyes of This Impossible Brightness, humans bear a particular mark of distinction, one that's spiritual or psychological rather than physical. We are the species that tries to change direction in midair; we attempt, impossibly, to take our fall and transform it into an ascent. Jessica Bryant Klagmann's writing seems motivated by this same desire. Everywhere in her novel's pages, you sense some force yearning to turn the future into the past - to forestall the autumn of the world, spin it around, and allow it to burst into spring. Through her focus on this effort, she produces a feeling that's sustained and powerful, a clear-eyed grief leavened by a mad hope." - Kevin Brockmeier

"Part ghost story, part adventure yarn, part death meditation, Jessica Bryant Klagmann's This Impossible Brightness is a tour de force of storytelling. Spinning us through multiple time frames and character perspectives, Klagmann captures the beauty and largeness of nature and our tenuous place in the world. A wonderful debut novel from a remarkable new voice." - David Nikki Crouse

"At once haunting and visionary, Jessica Bryant Klagmann's This Impossible Brightness asks us to consider ghosts in their many forms - literal ghosts, the ghosts of grief that follow all of us, and the ghost of a present-but-disappearing earth amid climate devastation. In the face of sweeping loss, this novel resists despair by weaving an expansive web of interconnectedness and also of hope. Klagmann's debut is both wildly imaginative and gorgeously moving." - Anne Valente

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