by Barbara Kingsolver
Flight Behaviour offers a counter-example to the argument social realism is not fit for purpose when it comes to climate change
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“One of the things that’s fascinating about Flight Behaviour is that at at least on the surface it offers a counter-example Ghosh’s argument social realism is not fit for purpose when it comes to climate change. After all, here is a novel that is absolutely depicting the social realities of a small community through a fine-grained attention to the detail of individual lives. The only remarkable thing is the arrival of a flock of butterflies whose migration has been disrupted by climate change, and even that might well have been plucked from the pages of a newspaper. And in an odd way it’s precisely this attention to social reality that makes the novel so effective, and so interesting. Because what Kingsolver lets us see is the way small disruptions to natural cycles alter the world, often without us even being fully aware of it, gradually deranging and unsettling individuals and communities.” Read more...
The Best Climate Change Novels
James Bradley, Novelist
“It’s a fable, a poetic fable, with a strong cast of memorable characters. Whether you’re a woman or a man, the novel will resonate with you. The vision of the monarch butterflies at the beginning of the story is almost mystical, religious, spiritual. It’s pure storytelling with no false moves. What makes her book work for me was that it didn’t fall into the trap of being preachy. As a non-scientist, I loved the book and read it with the same page-turning excitement as I felt when I used to read novels when I was a teenager in the 1960s, when literature was still fresh and new to me. The chapters in Flight Behaviour about the climate denialists in the local community are powerful and get to the heart of the matter. This isn’t a novel using government statistics and scientific studies to preach to the choir: it goes for the reader’s EQ rather than her or his IQ. I liked that. All cli-fi books should be like this. I couldn’t stop reading, over a period of several days, as I entered Kingsolver’s world here in my apartment in Taiwan. She is pure genius.” Read more...
Dan Bloom, Environmentalist