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Read this in one 24-hour period, despite lukewarm reviews here. Interesting how many readers responded to this book so negatively...! It’s also interesting to me that climate change is somehow characterized as a political (liberal) position by many in our society. There are no political ideas espoused in this book. It’s posited on the idea that a cataclysm of some kind caused sea levels to rise, not by a few inches, but by many feet. I’m willing to accept this as a premise, not least because I also happened to be reading The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells, so I was in a climate change kind of mindset. I don’t really need an explanation of how the cataclysm happened, and the “why” is pretty apparent. And that’s a different book—-there are loads of books explaining the why of climate change, if you can take absorbing incredibly terrifying ideas. This book starts with a set of premises that the reader is asked to accept, kind of like Handmaid’s Tale, 1984, and many other speculative fiction books. The story is told without undue extra information, focuses on one person’s story. The narrative highlights the emotions of despair and loss, focusing on the extreme conditions—-life without fire, exposed to the elements, and with food and water a constant concern could be MUCH more uncomfortable than most of uS, reading in our comfortable heated living rooms with electric lights and leftovers in the refrigerator and no armed pirates trying to steal our food and water, want to acknowledge. The reality of climate change has always seemed too big to get my mind around, too hopeless for one person to be able even imagine how to respond. Recycling seems kind of pointless. But this dramatization of how we might end up helped me imagine one possible scenario, and not even a worst case scenario. In the worst case, life on earth is reduced by 90 some percent, as has occurred five times in the past. After reading these two books, one scientific nonfiction and this book, the story of one human being reduced to primitive circumstances and struggling to survive, I feel like it’s time to join whatever forces out there are fighting climate change. For that reason alone, I’m glad I read

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The wall - John Lanchester
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