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ISBN: 9781419772771
By Justin Haynes
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"This brilliant, shape-shifting novel teems with charms and curses, stunning disasters and startling moments of grace." —Jenny Offill, author of Dept. of Speculation and Weather

A bold, witty, magical new voice in fiction, Justin Haynes weaves a cross-generational Caribbean story of migration, superstition, and a search for family in the novel Ibis.

There is bad luck in New Felicity. The people of the small coastal village have taken in Milagros, an 11-year-old Venezuelan refugee, just as Trinidad’s government has begun cracking down on undocumented migrants—and now an American journalist has come to town asking questions.

New Felicity’s superstitious fishermen fear the worst, certain they’ve brought bad luck on the village by killing a local witch who had herself murdered two villagers the year before. The town has been plagued since her death by alarming visits from her supernatural mother, as well as by a mysterious profusion of scarlet ibis birds.

Skittish that the reporter’s story will bring down the wrath of the ministry of national security, the fishermen take things into their own hands. From there, we go backward and forward in time—from the town’s early days, when it was the site of a sugar plantation, to Milagros’s adulthood as she searches for her mother across the Americas. In between, through the voices of a chorus of narrators, we glimpse moments from various villagers’ lives, each one setting into motion events that will reverberate outwards across the novel and shape Milagros’s fate.

With kinetic, absorbing language and a powerful sense of voice, Ibis meditates on the bond between mothers and daughters, both highlighting the migrant crisis that troubles the contemporary world and offering a moving exploration of how to square where we come from with who we become.