pH: A Novel
WestWinds Press/Alaska Northwest Books, Sept. 2017
When marine biologist Ray Berringer and his student crew embark on an oceanographic cruise in the Gulf of Alaska, the waters are troubled in more ways than one. Ray’s co-leader, the famed chemist Jackson Oakley, is abandoning ship just as the ocean’s decreasing pH levels are becoming a major concern for marine life. Helen, a grad student of Iñupiat (Eskimo) heritage, is suddenly left in charge of the cruise’s chemistry work. Annabel, an environmental artist along to help interpret research for the public, “does her own thing.” Back ashore, corrosion extends to the state university, and Ray’s “pteropod gang” finds itself collaborating on more than science.
Here's the book trailer: https://vimeo.com/207836391.
"Very few novelists remember that we live on an ocean planet, and none, as far as I know, have tracked the emerging science of ocean acidification, a threat of almost unparalleled dimension. That Nancy Lord does all that and still provides a superb story is testament to her great powers as a writer!"
-- Bill McKibben, author of Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet
“Widely respected and beloved Alaskan essayist Nancy Lord has written a dazzling novel, filled with wry, sly humor, wondrous science, and intriguing characters –- all driven by some of the most significant questions of our time. How can scientists defend the truth in a university corrupted by petrochemical profiteers? How can the lovely, life-sustaining creatures of the seas survive the corporate plunder of the planet? And this -- how can a book this important be such a joy to read?”
-- Kathleen Dean Moore, author of Great Tide Rising and Piano Tide
"Nancy Lord is an entrancing naturalist writer and a captivating storyteller whose factual knowledge of her beloved Alaska is impeccable. So fascinating to see how she weaves a fictional tale to remind us of the ecological and cultural issues we face on this planet."
-- Jean-Michel Cousteau, Founder and President, Ocean Futures Society
"Sometimes it takes fiction, more than facts, to hear the hard truth. In Nancy Lord’s pH, a cli-fi (climate fiction) novel about climate change and its evil cousin, ocean acidification, we met likeable and quirky characters dedicated to science and art while trapped in a system seduced by money. I learned a lot from this daring novel. And I laughed. Not a bad way to spend one’s time: buried in creativity, learning and laughing."
-- Kim Heacox, author of Jimmy Bluefeather and John Muir and the Ice That Started a Fire
". . . The multilayered plot and myriad characters converge on the important themes of integrity and collaboration. Lord’s dynamic language does it all. From fishermen-crowded bars to Helen’s Inuit heritage, she brings alive the Alaskan setting within each character’s arc of emotional development. Her writing reveals thorough research and literary skill. . ."
-- Foreword Review
Interview with Charles Wohlforth on Outdoor Explorer: www.alaskapublic.org/2017/10/27/outdoor-explorer-ocean-threats/
Excerpt at terrain.org: www.terrain.org/2017/fiction/ph-a-novel-excerpt/
Brooklyn Rail: http://brooklynrail.org/2017/09/books/Nancy-Lords-pH-A-Novel
"In case you’re one of those readers, like me, whose eyes often glaze over when there’s too much science in a book, be assured that Lord’s prose is always accessible. The science is skillfully interwoven with a compelling plot and a cast of well-wrought characters. Complex scientific ideas are cleverly reworked into clear dialogue between a scientist and a “lay person”—often in conversations between the graduate students and other characters. Lord never “dumbs things down” but instead puts complex ideas in plain language, all within a compelling story."
"Powerful bonds are forged among offbeat characters studying the effects of ocean acidification on pteropods, a tiny, keystone species, in this cutting-edge, deftly written novel. Of special note is the inclusion of an author Q&A and reading group discussion questions. . . very highly recommended, especially for community and academic library Contemporary Literary Fiction collections." --Midwest Book Review
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