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Title: Clean Air
Author: Sarah Blake
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Publication Date: February 8, 2022
Page Count: 319
My rating: 4 stars
About the book:
The climate apocalypse has come and gone, and in the end it wasn’t the temperature climbing or the waters rising. It was the trees. The world became overgrown, creating enough pollen to render the air unbreathable.
In the decade since the event known as the Turning, humanity has rebuilt, and Izabel has gotten used to the airtight domes that now contain her life. She raises her young daughter, Cami, and attempts to make peace with her mother’s death. She tries hard to be satisfied with this safe, prosperous new world, but instead she just feels stuck.
And then the peace of her town is shattered. Someone starts slashing through the domes at night, exposing people to the deadly pollen—a serial killer. Almost simultaneously, Cami begins sleep-talking, having whole conversations about the murders that she doesn’t remember after she wakes. Izabel becomes fixated on the killer, on both tracking him down and understanding him. What could compel someone to take so many lives after years dedicated to sheer survival, with humanity finally flourishing again?
Suspenseful and startling, but also written with a wry, observant humor, Clean Air is the second novel from poet Sarah Blake, author of the award-winning literary debut Naamah. It will appeal to readers of The Need, The Leftovers, and Fever Dream as it probes motherhood, grief, control, and choice.
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Clean Air by Sarah Blake is a new novel that defies being stuck in just one genre. At the core of the story in Clean Air is a science fiction fantasy set in a dystopian world. There is also an air of mystery with a killer on the loose leading to some thrilling suspenseful moments.
It has been a decade since the Earth went through a time known as The Turning and the population has been adjusting to their new normal. The Turning changed the world when the air became unbreathable with so much pollen in the air it was deadly to breathe so now in the aftermath masks must be warn to travel outside and buildings and homes exist in bubbles.
Izabel met her husband, Kaito, after The Turning had taken place and the two fell in love and married. Now the couple are the proud parents to their daughter, Cami. Kaito works with robotics helping in harvests as Izabel takes care of their daughter. What no one expected to see in this new world was a murder taking place and for Izabel it becomes even more urgent to find who is responsible when Cami seems to talk about the murderer in her sleep.
Being a huge fan of books that dabble in more than one genre Clean Air by Sarah Blake was right up my alley so it wasn’t surprising to find that I enjoyed this story. The story is definitely futuristic and the world one that I couldn’t wait to dive into and with such an interesting mix of events happening the pages kept flying by quickly as I read. I loved mixing the fantasy side with a good old fashion whodunnit and would definitely be interested in reading this author again in the future after this unique tale.
I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.
About the author:
SARAH BLAKE is the author of CLEAN AIR, a cli-fi domestic thriller, NAAMAH, a novel reimagining the story of Noah’s ark, and poetry collections MR. WEST and LET’S NOT LIVE ON EARTH. She received a Literature Fellowship from the NEA. Her work has appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books, the American Poetry Review, and the Kenyon Review. She lives outside of London, UK.