Is it possible to create a hopeful work of art about the end of humanity? In the capable hands of Silas House, the answer is an emphatic yes.

"Lark Ascending" begins in America in the near future. The West burns and the fires spread, pushing the teenaged Lark north and east with his family. They join other climate migrants on a ship bound for Ireland, where Lark's parents believe sanctuary awaits in Glendalough, where the mystic and earthly realms combine to create a sanctuary from climate disaster.

Strained by the large number of refugees arriving on its shores, Ireland offers a chilly reception, and in a series of events, Lark becomes separated from his family. He soon meets Seamus, a dog, and the two become close companions in search of the sanctuary promised by Lark's parents.

House makes Lark a keen observer of the wonders of a still-green Ireland. He sees the land through his parents' stories. In a ring of hazel trees, he remembers how his father had loved them. "He'd loved Yeats above all others," he said, quoting "The Song of Wandering Aengus." "Each time he told me about the power hazel trees possessed. How they offered protection to those who acknowledged them."

Silas House makes poetically clear what is at stake in the battle to save life on Earth. "Lark Ascending" is both ode to the Earth's wonders but also an elegy for what we stand to lose.

Lorraine Berry is a book critic in Oregon.

Lark Ascending

By: Silas House.

Publisher: Algonquin Books, 288 pages, $27.

Event: 7 p.m. Nov. 1, Magers & Quinn, 3038 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls.