The Great Derangement: Climate Change And The Unthinkable

Hardcover | September 14, 2016

byAmitav Ghosh

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Are we deranged? The acclaimed Indian novelist Amitav Ghosh argues that future generations may well think so. How else to explain our imaginative failure in the face of global warming? In his first major book of nonfiction since In an Antique Land, Ghosh examines our inability—at the level of literature, history, and politics—to grasp the scale and violence of climate change.

The extreme nature of today’s climate events, Ghosh asserts, make them peculiarly resistant to contemporary modes of thinking and imagining. This is particularly true of serious literary fiction: hundred-year storms and freakish tornadoes simply feel too improbable for the novel; they are automatically consigned to other genres. In the writing of history, too, the climate crisis has sometimes led to gross simplifications; Ghosh shows that the history of the carbon economy is a tangled global story with many contradictory and counterintuitive elements.

Ghosh ends by suggesting that politics, much like literature, has become a matter of personal moral reckoning rather than an arena of collective action. But to limit fiction and politics to individual moral adventure comes at a great cost. The climate crisis asks us to imagine other forms of human existence—a task to which fiction, Ghosh argues, is the best suited of all cultural forms. His book serves as a great writer’s summons to confront the most urgent task of our time.
 

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Are we deranged? The acclaimed Indian novelist Amitav Ghosh argues that future generations may well think so. How else to explain our imaginative failure in the face of global warming? In his first major book of nonfiction since In an Antique Land, Ghosh examines our inability—at the level of literature, history, and politics—to grasp ...

Amitav Ghosh is an award-winning novelist and essayist whose books include The Circle of Reason, The Shadow Lines, In An Antique Land, Dancing in Cambodia, The Calcutta Chromosome, The Glass Palace, The Hungry Tide, and the Ibis Trilogy: Sea of Poppies, River of Smoke, and  Flood of Fire.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:176 pages, 8.5 × 5.5 × 1 inPublished:September 14, 2016Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022632303X

ISBN - 13:9780226323039

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

I. Stories
II. History
III. Politics
Acknowledgments
Notes

Editorial Reviews

“A stupendous return to non-fiction. . . . Ghosh charts our progress, our cultures, history, politics, and its environmental fallout, as delicately and firmly as a Buddhist monk resolutely scattering coloured sand to create a mandala. Pixel by pixel, in distant corners of a canvas, he builds his arguments. Through the three sections of The Great Derangement, he carves a picture out of seemingly disparate global and local events and trends. And when you step back, slowly, inch by inch, a grander story is revealed—our story. We get to see a picture so grotesque and distorted that it is impossible to look away. And we look on, transfixed by a singular conclusion—climate change is on us.”