In the tradition of Karen Russell’s Swamplandia!, a once-famous but now-abandoned aquarium-in-a-ship in Florida is the captivating backdrop for a novel of family secrets and dysfunction, and the ways in which it can sometimes take an animal to remind us how to be human.
This is the story of a family falling apart, only to be brought back together again by an unlikely champion—a 1,000-pound aquatic mammal named Pebble.
Lauren’s life is a mess. She has a storage unit full of candles she can’t sell, a growing mountain of debt, and a teenage daughter, Dove, who barely speaks to her. Then her husband sends her a text that changes everything. Eager to escape her problems, she drives herself and Dove south to her late mother’s rundown trailer in Florida. While keeping her eccentric new neighbours at Swaying Palms at bay, Lauren begins to untangle the truth about her estranged mother. How did world-famous portrait photographer Imogen Starr end up at Swaying Palms?And what happened to her fortune and her photographs?
Meanwhile, Dove has secrets of her own. A mysterious photograph leads her to discover the abandoned Flamingo Key Aquarium and Tackle, where she meets Pebble, the world’s oldest manatee in captivity. It is Pebble, a former star attraction, and her devoted caretaker, Ray, who will hold the key to helping Lauren and Dove come to terms with Imogen’s unexpected legacy.
Darkly funny and sharply observed, Pebble & Dove is a moving novel about the complicated relationship between mothers and daughters, and learning how to choose between what’s worth saving and what needs to be let go.