How to Survive a Natural Disaster

How to Survive a Natural Disaster

How to Survive a Natural Disaster

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Hawkins follows her winning debut with an even more arresting work, a droll and unnerving novel of extreme familial dysfunction. Each character—including Mr. Cosmo, the three-and-a-half-legged Weimaraner—takes turns narrating in a round of increasingly alarming testimonials that reveal dangerous levels of selfishness, neurosis, psychic damage, and rage. Hawkins has created an unusually incisive, rapid-fire, percussively hilarious, caustically dark, and piquantly pleasurable tale of tragic domestic mayhem and incremental redemption.  Booklist


I love “discovering” new writers, and was thrilled when I read Hawkins’ The Year of Cats and Dogs. However, when I came across her second novel it was with a sense of foreboding. Oh, me of little faith! Hawkins has equaled her success with this second effort. 5 stars.

                               —Jim McKeown,  KWBU-FM, Baylor University’s NPR station 


Fans of Margaret Hawkins first novel will see that she’s progressed immensely in terms of both technique and emotional depth. Narrating portions of the book a la such contemporary pet-centered works as Garth Stein’s The Art of Racing in the Rain, Hawkins expands her character palate to include a mismatched and largely dysfunctional family whose ups and downs become especially pronounced when the mother decides to adopt a Peruvian child in a misguided attempt at infusing more love into her life. The result is a heart-wrenching tale not so much of the things we do for love, but the things we do when love runs dry. Having each of her major characters shoulder the burden of narration is reminiscent of Virginia Woolf’s The Waves, though a contemporary setting and more conventional use of language lend themselves to greater emotional resonance. Hawkins’ book is nothing short of excellent; an expertly crafted and emotionally gripping read.  —Small Press Reviews


"Hawkins unforgettable characters will steal your heart with their earnest attempts to love, and her story doesn't blink in its pursuit of revealing how parenthood, sibling rivalry, and ultimately life—works.  I loved this book."  Jo-Ann Mapson, author of Hank & Chloe, and Solomon's Oak  

MARGARET HAWKINS is a Chicago writer and critic. She had a long-running column in the Chicago Sun-Times, and 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 October of 2009.

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