Narrated By: Shridhar Solanki
Duration: 6 hours and 7 minutes
What to expect
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.
Climate change, Conservation of the environment, Environmental policy and protocols, Meteorology and climatology
Listen to a sample
“On very rare occasions, a writer marshals such searing insight and storytelling skill that even a well trodden subject is blown wide open…This is that kind of book.”
“‘The climate crisis is,’ as Ghosh writes, ‘also a crisis of culture and thus of the imagination.’"
“Branding our era of denial and inertia the Great Derangement, Ghosh looks in turn at literature, history, and politics to examine this failure”
“The Great Derangement is a bracing reminder that there is no more vital task for writers and artists than to clear the intellectual dead wood of a vulgarly boosterish age and create space for apocalyptic thinking—which may at least delay, if not avert, the catastrophes ahead.”
“One big complaint about science—that it kills wonder—is the same criticism Ghosh levels at the novel: that it bequeaths us ‘a world of few surprises, fewer adventures, and no miracles at all.’"
“His exploration of the relationship between British imperialism and Asia’s carbon economy shows that our constructions of history are as deranged as our literature. In short, we are in denial.”
“In this concise and utterly enlightening volume, Ghosh urges the public to find new artistic and political frameworks to understand and reduce the effects of human-caused climate change.”
“Shridhar Solanki’s deliberate English-accented narration takes the listener through Ghosh’s theories…[and] some fascinating accounts of catastrophes…Solanki’s slower pace is appropriate…[as] this audiobook requires time and attention.”