What I’m reading: David Lowe, author on climate change

She is a killer by Kirsten McDougal

This novel by New Zealand writer Kirsten McDougal takes the reader into a dystopian world damaged by climate change and in the near future Aotearoa invaded by wealthy immigrants, the “Wealthugees”.

Alice fights for existence struggling with sky-high prices, a mundane job, a mother she communicates with in Morse code, and two friends, one imaginary and the other seemingly perverted by the Wealthugees.

* She’s a Killer by Kirsten McDougall
* The Alarmist: the 50-year struggle of climatologist Dave Lowe
* The Testaments author Margaret Atwood: “People my age don’t win awards”

The novel is gripping with its excursions into the mind of a troubled genius and the chilling prediction of likely competition between people in a country starting to be ravaged by climate change.

It’s both disturbing and entertaining and, in a critical decade where carbon emissions must be reduced and the world depends on the outcome of COP26, must read.

Klara and the sun by Kazuo Ishiguro

Klara is an artificial friend created to observe the behavior of humans. She is sold to a mother who wants Klara to be a close and empathetic companion for her sick teenage daughter.

Ishiguro’s novel, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, is brilliant with his ideas about different types of love, loyalty and prejudice.

It’s written in a deceptively simple style that leaves you thinking about aspects of the story long after you’ve finished the book – I’ve learned a lot about my own preconceptions while reading it.

Wills by Margaret Atwood

It has been over 35 years since Atwood’s novel The Handmaid’s Tale shocked the world with his vision of Gilead, a brutal theocracy ruled in a future United States where male religious leaders control life and death and, due to climate change and pollution, virtually all women are barren.

Wills told through the voices of two teenage girls and an older woman, an “aunt” of Gilead, act as a kind of antidote to The Handmaid’s Tale negotiate dark secrets and desperation to a startling end.

I really enjoyed the book – it’s a page turner and definitely worth reading.

Dave Lowe is the author of TThe Alarmist: Fifty Years of Measuring Climate Change, published by Victoria University Press, May 13, 2021. He received the Wellingtonian of the Year Environment Award in early 2021.

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