For some reason I thought I might be able to dash off a post about The Great Derangement by Amitav Ghosh. Ha! Not a chance. As I try to get my thoughts on the book together, here is a quote from it to give you taste:
If literature is conceived of as the expression of authentic experience, then fiction will inevitably come to be seen as ‘false.’ But to reproduce the world as it exists need not be the project of fiction; what fiction — and by this I mean not only the novel but also epic and myth — makes possible is to approach the world in a subjunctive mode, to conceive of it as if it were other than it is: in short, the great, irreplaceable potentiality of fiction is that it makes possible the imagining of possibilities. And to imagine other forms of human existence is exactly the challenge that is posed by the climate crisis: for if there is any one thing that global warming has made perfectly clear it is that to think about the world only as it is amounts to a formula for collective suicide. We need, rather, to envision what it might be.
It all comes down to the stories we tell, doesn’t it? Who we are, who we have been, what we can be. Ghosh has so many interesting things to say and I value his non-western perspective. It is one we don’t hear from much when it comes to climate change. Hopefully more on Ghosh tomorrow!