How to Survive a Natural Disaster by Margaret Hawkins

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Synopsis

"I didn't speak until I was seven. I didn't feel the need," May tells us on one page of How to Survive a Natural Disaster, a story of family rivalry, betrayal, violence and forgiveness told in six voices. May, the strange, silent orphan brought to a leafy suburb north of Chicago at six months old to mend the lives of a troubled family, might not talk, but as her Grandma Jack observes, "That baby studies people."

Next we hear from May's parents, her sister, her dog and Phoebe, their agoraphobic neighbor who is the one who finally must rise to the occasion when May decides to take matters into their own hands.

As each character makes a case for his or own side of the story the reader learns that blood ties aren't what make a family and that sometimes survival is only possible through forgiveness.
 

About Margaret Hawkins

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Margaret Hawkins is a Chicago writer and critic. She had a long-running column in the Chicago Sun-Times, writes for ARTnews, has written for WBEZ, worked in business, taught art, been an independent curator, and currently teaches writing at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her first novel, A Year of Cats and Dogs, was published by The Permanent Press in 2009.
 
Published September 1, 2010 by Permanent Press. 198 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for How to Survive a Natural Disaster

BC Books

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It’s a fascinating play on the modern family that leaves no character unscathed or undamaged, except for the already damaged three legged dog (the hero of the novel if there is any hero) Mr Cosmo, whose voice is at least as real and pervasive as the human characters.

Apr 17 2011 | Read Full Review of How to Survive a Natural Disa...

New York Journal of Books

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Margaret Hawkins uses the narrators’ differences in personality and perspective to give multifaceted accounts of events surrounding the adoption of May into the family of Roxanne and Craig, and the issues that arise when May finds a loaded gun in Craig’s washing basket.Each of the six narrators i...

Sep 01 2010 | Read Full Review of How to Survive a Natural Disa...

Seattle PI

In her second novel, How to Survive a Natural Disaster Hawkins explores the modern, dysfunctional family.

Apr 26 2011 | Read Full Review of How to Survive a Natural Disa...

Chicago Sun Times

The most meaningful characters in both of Margaret Hawkins' novels are the pets.

Oct 21 2010 | Read Full Review of How to Survive a Natural Disa...

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