Hummingbird Salamander

Hummingbird Salamander

Jeff VanderMeer

Pub date
Fourth Estate
Demy 135x216mm
400 pages
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Book Overview

’Frankly superb.  This pummelling eco-thriller camouflages the true ‘understory’ of societal collapse, and glows in the dark with original thinking’ David Mitchell, author of Utopia Avenue

A speculative thriller about the end of all things, set in the Pacific Northwest. A harrowing descent into a secret world.

Security consultant and former wrestler ‘Jane Smith’ receives an envelope with a key to a storage unit that holds a taxidermied hummingbird and clues leading her to a taxidermied salamander. Silvina, the dead woman who left the note, is a reputed ecoterrorist and the daughter of an Argentine industrialist. By taking the hummingbird from the storage unit, Jane sets in motion a series of events that quickly spin beyond her control. 
Soon, Jane and her family are in danger, with few allies to help her make sense of the true scope of the peril. Is the only way to safety to follow in Silvina’s footsteps? Is it too late to stop? As she desperately seeks answers about why Silvina contacted her, time is running out—for her and possibly for the world. 
Hummingbird Salamander is Jeff VanderMeer at his brilliant, cinematic best, wrapping profound questions about climate change, identity, and the world we live in into a tightly plotted thriller full of unexpected twists and elaborate conspiracy.

About the author

Jeff VanderMeer is an award-winning novelist and editor. His fiction has been translated into twenty languages and has appeared in the Library of America’s American Fantastic Tales and in multiple year’s-best anthologies. He writes non-fiction for the Washington Post, the New York Times Book Review, the Los Angeles Times, and the Guardian, among others. He grew up in the Fiji Islands and now lives in Tallahassee, Florida, with his wife.


  • Praise for Hummingbird Salamander:
  • ‘An enigmatic eco-thriller that delivers on the subject of worlds – inner worlds such as the biosphere – that are coming apart’ Observer
  • ‘A violent, darkly witty adventure, haunted by the threat of looming environmental apocalypse … while there’s an urgency and a justified anger here, there’s also a necessary glimmer of hope, a suggestion that perhaps we’re not all completely doomed. Well, not yet, anyway.’ Will Salmon, SFX Magazine
  • If you thought Rumaan Alam’s apocalyptic Leave the World Behind was too creepy, perhaps you shouldn’t read VanderMeer’s new speculative thriller, in which a woman called Jane Smith receives a note and a key from a dead eco-terrorist. No spoilers, but it’s safe to say the fate of the world is at stake, and you won’t look up even once while you’re reading’ Washington Post
  • ‘An existential mindfuck cleverly disguised as a thriller … Visionary, dark, beautiful, and strange, Hummingbird Salamander is that rare novel that coaxes you into imagining the unimaginable’ Kristen Roupenian, author of You Know You Want This: Cat Person and Other Stories
  • ‘Quirky, compelling … The engine that drives it is speculation about the future not only of civilisation, but of all life on this planet.’ Guardian
  • ‘Harrowing, gripping, and profound. It’s both a thriller and a requiem for a disappearing world. I expect this novel will haunt me for a long time’ Emily St. John Mandel, author of The Glass Hotel
  • ‘A profound and incendiary thriller hurtling backward from the end of the world … The result is a detective story unlike any I’ve read before, futuristic in bearing but deeply relevant to this present, dangerous moment’ Omar El Akkad, award-winning journalist and author of American War