"Gaines' novel is deeply researched, and the reader will walk away with an understanding of not only Uruguay's repressive regimes, but also biomes, bird preservation, and more."
--KIRKUS "A rich portrait of a country and its people, relayed with detail and wonder, thanks to a naturalist's eye."
--FOREWORD REVIEWS "The personal is political: if anybody has ever wondered what this insight means then I recommend Accidentals as an enchanting path toward understanding. This novel of a young man's transformation, from passive observation to passionate engagement masterfully encompasses so many levels, from the biology of microbes to the chaos of politics and the mysteries of the human heart, with every level rendered fascinating by the author's extraordinary powers of observation. This is a novel that is, above all, about how seeing is an act of love. A profound and moving experience awaits the reader."
--REBECCA NEWBERGER GOLDSTEIN, author of Plato at the Googleplex "This is a book about all the things we don't yet know; all the things we know but keep hidden; and all the things we once knew but have lost. Gorgeous, smart, and surprising, Gaines' family saga takes us into the large world of nations and politics, but also the microscopic world of mud and microbes. Tender and powerful. Also with birds "
--KAREN JOY FOWLER, author of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves and The Jane Austen Book Club "In clean, beautiful prose and with an environmental sensibility evocative of Stegner, Accidentals sings with the vibrancy of the living world...erudite and emotionally compelling, suffused with science and natural history."
--CHRISTIAN KIEFER, author of Phantoms "An intimate family story with an astonishingly epic scope. Alive with history, politics, science, romance, and birds, it is as entertaining as it is intelligent, as beautiful as it is wise. Gabe's evolution from a passive observer to the passionate creator of his own destiny is a life-changing experience not only for him, but for readers as well."
--JEAN HEGLAND, author of Still Time and Windfalls "Captivating...deeply moving and powerful."
--SHERYL COTLEUR, Copperfield's Books When Gabriel's immigrant mother returns to her native Uruguay, he takes a break from his uninspiring job to accompany her. Immersed in his squabbling family, birdwatching in the wetlands on their abandoned ranch, and falling in love with a local biologist, he makes discoveries that force him to contend with the environmental cataclysm of his turn-of-millennium present--even as he confronts the Cold War-era ideologies and political violence that have shaped his family's past.
About the Author
Susan M. Gaines is the author of the novel Carbon Dreams and of the science narrative, Echoes of Life: What Fossil Molecules Reveal About Earth History. Her short stories have appeared in numerous literary journals and been selected for the Best of the West anthology and nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Gaines's fiction is informed by a youth spent hiking and birding California's mountains and coastline, and by her education in chemistry and oceanography. She is the recipient of an Art in Science Fellowship at the Hanse Institute for Advanced Study, as well as the 2018 Suffrage Science Award. Currently at work on another novel, Gaines divides her time between her native California, Uruguay, and Germany, where she co-directs the Fiction Meets Science research and fellowship program.