Kingsolver’s novel expertly grapples with the seeming impossibility of reconciling the trials and tribulations of everyday life in late capitalism with the abstract frame of climate disaster. With the use of one nearly allegorical event, the novel ties together the loose ends to prove just how intertwined the two actually are.
Prompted by a personal impulse, a scholar Daisy Hilyard ventures into unfamiliar territory to probe the paradoxes of how we are immersed in the climate through various modes of ‘having’ our bodies. Her investigation centers around the contrasting notions of split and interconnectedness, exploring their consequences for our understanding of our place and role within the crisis, drawing on examples from literature, her own life and a series of unusual encounters.
What makes Clade much more than just a display of the possible impacts the rising temperatures will have on our world, is its ceaseless and conscious focus on the question of how we, as individuals, families and communities, will have to navigate them. In Bradley’s dystopia, the unfamiliarity with the change clashes with the familiarity of everyday existence—his ability to capture and explore this particular tension results in an extremely powerful and provoking image.
One of the greatest strengths of Ghosh’s essay lies in its insightful versatility. From questioning literature’s very ability to address the theme of climate disaster, particularly as exhibited in the novel, to exposing imperialism and colonialism as significant drivers of the crisis, The Great Derangement brings together a number of planes—personal, historical and literary—juxtaposing them in a thought provoking meditation on our current condition.
A tidy popular science introduction to the phenomenon on one hand, and a no-holds-barred rollercoaster ride to how climate disaster impacts our lives on planet Earth on the other. Wallace-Wells reviews all major aspects of the terrifying future to come, anthologizing both scientific facts and our conceptual attempts to make sense of them.