TBR Recommends – Environment & Climate Change

Rajat Chaudhuri recommends four books that broach the subject of environment and climate change.

The Living Mountain, Amitav Ghosh

A redemptive fable set on a mountain that retells the history of exploitation of the planet for resources. In less than fifty pages, the acclaimed novelist tells us a compelling tale that begins with the arrival of the Anthropoi who represent colonial powers, their battles with the mountain-dwellers, and the exploitation of the mountain’s resources till things begin to fall apart and we arrive in the age of climate change. Told in a lucid and engaging style, with many plot turns that are allegories of the history of resource extraction and subjugation of peoples, this book is a must-read for readers of all ages interested in the Anthropocene. 

Your Wild and Precious Life: On grief, hope and rebellion, Liz Jensen

Acclaimed novelist and climate fiction writer Liz Jensen’s son Raphaël Coleman who was an ecological activist, conservationist and zoologist died unexpectedly at the age of 25. This book is a testament of hope which sets personal loss and grief against the transformations of a planet ravaged by climate change. What shines through from this powerful work is the abiding possibility of discovering meaning in loss and the quest for a dawn after the darkest hour.  

Mahanadi, Anita Agnihotri

Anita Agnihotri’s Mahanadi turns the narrative of ecologies and histories of a great river into an exquisite patachitra scroll. The story weaves around a dam built in the 50s displacing villages at the headwaters, and flows onto the construction of a steel plant at the river’s mouth in today’s Odisha, which will impoverish farmers. In between is Agnihotri’s socially-conscious storytelling twining nature and culture in a memorable narrative. Nivedita Sen’s pitch-perfect translation captures the angst at how the costs of development are paid by the most fragile societies and ecologies.

Biopeculiar: Stories of an Uncertain World, Gigi Ganguly

An idiosyncratic collection of short stories about other beings, which is a fun read and also sets you thinking. Climate change and other planetary crises have reminded us that we have taken the non-human world for granted for too long. However, anyone with the slightest empathy and awareness of their surroundings knows intuitively that non-humans do have agency and that we shape our world together with them. These stories about a cloud herder, a raven as a police inspector, talking cats, silkworms, and other beings are highly imaginative and entertaining, sending us on revelatory journeys that could help us better understand our non-human kin.

CategoriesTBR Recommends
Rajat Chaudhuri

Rajat Chaudhuri's work includes climate novels, edited anthologies, translations and a cli-fi video game. He writes in English and Bengali. He can be found at https://www.rajatchaudhuri.net/