Pearce Oysters

Pearce Oysters

Joselyn Takacs

Coming June 25, 2024

A divided family. A devastated community. And the disaster that brings them all together.



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Pearce Oysters, a family drama set on the Louisiana coastline during the historic 2010 oil spill, follows the Pearces, local oyster farmers whose business, family, and livelihood are on the brink of collapse.

This is eye-opening, eco-fiction at its best—a story that highlights the grit and beauty of lives lived in an overlooked corner of the American South. Diving deep into the bonds of family, culture, class, and industry, the novel elevates the voices of deeply sympathetic characters: Jordan, the reluctant head of his family’s storied oyster company; May, his distressed, widowed mother; and Benny, his beatnik musician brother, who returns from New Orleans in their time of crisis.

Pearce Oysters


Joselyn Takacs

What people are saying...

“In her gripping and emotionally rich novel, Joselyn Takacs is as perceptive about the natural world as she is about the ecosystem of the troubled family at the heart of this book. Pearce Oysters is an impressive, unflinching, and haunting debut.”

Meg Wolitzer

author of The Interestings

“Against the encroaching consequences of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Pearce Oysters offers a precise, panoramic, and ultimately devastating vision of the oystermen, anarchists, day laborers, deadbeats and struggling families who populate Louisiana’s Gulf Coast. This is fiction with a social conscience that is, more wonderful still, beautifully told: witty, vivid, consistently humane. Joselyn Takacs understands the economics of the domestic oyster industry as well as she knows the permutations of love, loyalty, and resentment that define family life—or any life. A fabulous debut: entertaining, absorbing, necessary and true.”

Alice McDermott

author of Absolution

“Pearce Oysters is that rare novel able to speak eloquently and empathetically for our complex times while also delivering an irresistible, heartrending story. When the Pearce family is thrust into a reluctant reckoning with loss and injustice, they must all find the courage to reimagine their relationships—to their generational Louisiana coastal home and livelihood, to truth and lies, and, most importantly, to each other. Takacs is a gifted writer who develops these deeply flawed but earnest characters with extraordinary authenticity, compassion, and intelligence. A powerful, transportive debut. I simply couldn’t put it down.”

Shelley Read

author of Go as a River

“Pearce Oysters is chock full of pleasures, and especially potent is how deeply Takacs allows for each perspective, including the presence of nature. Everyone and everything central to the book gets time and dignity on the page and as a result this world is so lived-in and thoughtful and beautifully layered. A remarkable debut."

Aimee Bender

author of The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

“Pearce Oysters is a pearl of a novel, as gritty, complex, and full of nuance as the eponymous bivalve at its center. Debut author Joselyn Takacs is as skilled at portraying the bayous, swamps, and bays of Louisiana’s coastline as she is exploring all that is unpredictable about the human heart, especially in times of crisis. It’s a remarkable novel.”

Adrienne Brodeur

author of Little Monsters

“Pearce Oysters tears back the veil and reveals the crude realities of the biggest oil spill in history. Takacs shows an extraordinary talent for describing the gritty lives of a proud oyster family caught in the emotional undertow of lies and loss, denial and perseverance. Eye-opening and compelling, I couldn’t put it down.”

Mary Alice Monroe

author of The Summer Girls

"A vivid, intimate portrait of a disaster the world has forgotten, even though for families along the Gulf Coast it has never ended. Joselyn Takacs is alert to the violent contradictions of life in southern Louisiana: natural glory and industrial horror, boundless faith and bottomless despair, disintegration and reconstruction. An impressive, big-hearted debut."

Nathaniel Rich

author of Losing Earth

"There's nothing I love more than a family drama steeped in love and complication, and Pearce Oysters delivers it note for note. Not only is this story a staggering account of all we lost in the BP oil spill, it also reminds us of what remains at stake around dinner tables across the country: what it means to fight for a legacy, and why we stay together in the midst of our fiercest trials. Full of wit, grit, and longing, this novel captured my whole heart."

Amy Jo Burns

author of Mercury

“Joselyn Takacs’s Pearce Oysters is a beautiful, important debut that explores the impossibility and dignity of taking a stand, of small rebellions in the face of large upheavals. With lyrical prose, sly humor, and endless empathy, Takacs balances the intimate with the global, showing us the Pearce family in all of their flawed complexity as they attempt to control their own narratives in the face of catastrophic systemic failures. An essential novel for our time, Takacs captures a way of life on the Louisiana coast that, even as you turn the pages of the book, is moving further out of reach.”

Gwen E. Kirby

author of Shit Cassandra Saw

“Having witnessed and chronicled much of the pain and chaos of that awful summer when the Deepwater Horizon oil rig blowout polluted the Gulf region and coated the minds and souls of people whose livelihoods and emotional wellbeing teetered on collapse, I am astonished at how well Joselyn Takacs takes us there. She has an amazingly sensitive ear for the braided rhythms of life, work, and family dynamics; and a finely attuned instinct for carrying her readers deep into human drama.”

Carl Safina

author of A Sea in Flames: The Deepwater Horizon Oil Blowout

Why Zibby Loves It...

Pearce Oysters is a lyrical, important, and emotional read—a poignant deep dive into the intersection of environmental, family, and financial factors. Joseyln’s characters jump off the page, and in every scene the reader sinks deeper into the Louisiana Bayou. This is an exquisite family portrait meets cli-fi expose.