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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Landfalls

Landfalls

A Novel

Naomi J. Williams

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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The gripping story of a dramatic eighteenth-century voyage of discovery from Naomi J. Williams

In her wildly inventive debut novel, Naomi J. Williams reimagines the historical La Pérouse expedition, a voyage of exploration that left Brest in 1785 with two frigates, two hundred men, and overblown Enlightenment ideals and expectations, in a brave attempt to circumnavigate the globe for science and the glory of France.
Deeply grounded in historical fact but refracted through a powerful imagination, Landfalls follows the exploits and heartbreaks not only of the men on the ships but also of the people affected by the voyage-natives and other Europeans the explorers encountered, loved ones left waiting at home, and those who survived and remembered the expedition later. Each chapter is told from a different point of view and is set in a different part of the world-ranging from London to Tenerife, Alaska to remote South Pacific islands and Siberia, and eventually back to France. The result is a beautifully written and absorbing tale of the high seas, scientific exploration, human tragedy, and the world on the cusp of the modern era.
By turns elegiac, profound, and comic, Landfalls reinvents the maritime adventure novel for the twenty-first century.

Seattle Times Best Books of the Year

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London, April 1785



Plausibility

He always forgets how unpleasant the crossing from Calais is. He's never once made the trip without...

Praise for Landfalls

“By focusing on the penumbra of this legendary voyage, a disastrous, 18th-century quest for geographic knowledge, Naomi Williams brilliantly illuminates the enduring story of L'Expedition de Laperousé. The novel is a deft and stunning evocation of human aspiration at the dawn of the Industrial Age.” —Barry Lopez, author of Arctic Dreams, winner of the National Book Award

“Here is an historical novel so thrilling in the reading, so richly colored and true to life that, reaching the end, I found myself going back to begin it again. I don't ask for more from a book.” —Lynn Freed, author of The Servants' Quarters

“This is a daring novel deftly written. In Landfalls, Naomi J. Williams conjures entire worlds, both external and internal, with remarkable dexterity, leaping nimbly from setting to setting and heart to heart, assembling a book every bit as moving and wondrous as the journey it recreates. Still, the greatest discovery is left to us: this new author of such rare talent burst upon our world.” —Josh Weil, author of The Great Glass Sea

“An unceasingly compelling tale of men, adventure and obsession, Landfalls strikes that rare and perfect balance between being a meticulously researched and utterly trustworthy historical account on the one hand, and a damn good story peopled with highly complex emotionally recognizable characters on the other. It is also formally inventive, structurally satisfying, and deeply moving-quite a trifecta for any noveli… More…

“By focusing on the penumbra of this legendary voyage, a disastrous, 18th-century quest for geographic knowledge, Naomi Williams brilliantly illuminates the enduring story of L'Expedition de Laperousé. The novel is a deft and stunning evocation of human aspiration at the dawn of the Industrial Age.” —Barry Lopez, author of Arctic Dreams, winner of the National Book Award

“Here is an historical novel so thrilling in the reading, so richly colored and true to life that, reaching the end, I found myself going back to begin it again. I don't ask for more from a book.” —Lynn Freed, author of The Servants' Quarters

“This is a daring novel deftly written. In Landfalls, Naomi J. Williams conjures entire worlds, both external and internal, with remarkable dexterity, leaping nimbly from setting to setting and heart to heart, assembling a book every bit as moving and wondrous as the journey it recreates. Still, the greatest discovery is left to us: this new author of such rare talent burst upon our world.” —Josh Weil, author of The Great Glass Sea

“An unceasingly compelling tale of men, adventure and obsession, Landfalls strikes that rare and perfect balance between being a meticulously researched and utterly trustworthy historical account on the one hand, and a damn good story peopled with highly complex emotionally recognizable characters on the other. It is also formally inventive, structurally satisfying, and deeply moving-quite a trifecta for any novelist, let alone a debut. Naomi Williams is the real thing.” —Pam Houston, author of Contents May Have Shifted

“Every expedition is a drama, in which the souls caught by the war and peace of human curiosities become master storytellers of their own tales and one another's fate. What a joy to see these characters, long-buried by sea or by land, come alive in Landfalls. Naomi Williams is an astute observer of both actions and psychologies, and this brilliant book brings us closer to our fellow explorers before our time.” —Yiyun Li, author of Kinder Than Solitude

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