Inspired by the flooding of her brother’s house in Trinidad in 2008, British-Trinidadian Monique Roffey’s novel is an immersive account of a father’s flight to the Galapagos after a catastrophic flood kills his infant son. With its sharp insights into the legacy of colonialism and the havoc wreaked by a warming planet, Archipelago is both a love letter to the quixotic Caribbean Sea and an electrifying portrayal of life lived on the front line of the climate and ecological emergency.

‘There’s a warmth to this book, an exuberance and a wisdom, that makes the experience of reading it feel not just pleasurable but somehow instructive. It’s funny, sometimes bitingly poignant. A brilliant piece of storytelling.” — Andrew Miller, author of Pure, winner of the Costa Book of the Year 2011.

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It’s two days before Christmas and Helsinki is battling a ruthless climate catastrophe: subway tunnels are flooded; abandoned vehicles are left burning in the streets; the authorities have issued warnings about malaria, tuberculosis, Ebola, and the plague. People are fleeing to the far north of Finland and Norway where conditions are still tolerable. Social order is crumbling and private security firms have undermined the police force.

Tapani Lehtinen, a struggling poet, is among the few still able and willing to live in the city. When Tapani’s beloved wife, Johanna, a newspaper journalist, goes missing, he embarks on a frantic hunt for her. Johanna’s disappearance seems to be connected to a story she was researching about a politically motivated serial killer known as “The Healer.” Desperate to find Johanna, Tapani’s search leads him to uncover secrets from her past. Secrets that connect her to the very murders she was investigating.

The Healer is set in desperate times, forcing Tapani to take desperate measures in order to find his true love. Written in an engrossingly dense but minimal language, Antti Tuomainen’s The Healer is a story of survival, loyalty, and determination. Even when the world is coming to an end, love and hope endure.

“The surefooted rendition of rain-washed urban decay that will stay in the mind of most readers.”—The Independent

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Perched on a hill above a village by the sea, the high house has a mill, a vegetable garden and a barn full of supplies. Caro and her younger half-brother, Pauly, arrive there one day to find it cared for by Grandy and his granddaughter, Sally. Not quite a family, they learn to live together, and care for one another. But there are limits even to what the ailing Grandy knows about how to survive, and, if the storm comes, it might not be enough.

“uses a future post-apocalyptic world as a perspective from which to apply the melancholic, nostalgic air of Ian Sinclair, Rachel Lichtenstein or W G Sebald to our own present. You think you have time. And then, all at once, you don’t’ – The Irish Times

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Tayo, a young Second World War veteran of mixed ancestry, is coming home, returning to the Laguna Pueblo Reservation. He finds himself scarred by his experiences as a prisoner of war and further wounded by the rejection he finds among his own people. Only by rediscovering the traditions, stories and ceremonies of his ancestors can he start to heal, and find peace.

Ceremony is the greatest novel in Native American literature. It is one of the greatest novels of any time and place.” Sherman Alexie

Read our Librarian’s top climate change fiction picks by heading to our Fiction sections

Ea has always felt like an outsider. She suffers from a type of deafness that means she cannot master the spinning rituals that unite her pod of spinner dolphins. When tragedy strikes her family and Ea feels she is partly to blame, she decides to make the ultimate sacrifice and leave. As Ea ventures into the vast, she discovers dangers everywhere, from lurking predators to strange objects floating in the water. But just as she is coming to terms with her solitude, a chance encounter with a group of arrogant bottlenoses will irrevocably alter the course of her life. In her terrifying, propulsive novel, Laline Paull explores the true meaning of family, belonging, sacrifice – the harmony and tragedy of the pod – within an ocean that is no longer the sanctuary it once was, and which reflects a world all too recognisable to our own.

‘Laline Paull succeeds splendidly in rising to the most important literary challenge of our time – restoring voice and agency to other-than-human beings’ – Amitav Ghosh. Shortlisted for the Woman’s Prize for Fiction 2023.

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Lizzie works in a university library. One of her jobs is answering the letters that come in to Hell or High Water, a doom-laden podcast hosted by her former university mentor.

At first, she enjoys the role but soon she finds herself struggling to strike the obligatory note of hope in her responses. Her comfortable lifestyle begins to falter as her obsession with disaster psychology and people preparing for the end of the world grows.

‘It’s surprising, given the subject matter, how much fun Weather is, both to read and discuss, and also how darkly funny’ – The Guardian

Shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2020 and the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction 2020 and longlisted for the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction 2021.

Read our Librarian’s top climate change fiction picks by heading to our Fiction section

This adventure novel about a small band of rabbits in southern England has been a worldwide bestseller for over 40 years. The rabbits must leave their home when one receives a vision of terrible destruction. Young readers will cheer as the rabbits venture into a strange new world, attempting to create a better society on their own.

 

Read our Librarian’s top climate choices for children here.

The Joyful Environmentalist is very much an XR book, with two chapters describing the April Rebellion from the position of the XR Samba band. The rest is about all the ways in which we can change our lives to support our planet.

Dr Rowan Williams writes of it: “Perhaps the most important message any environmentalist can give at the moment is that green options are neither just a last desperate hope for saving the planet, nor misery maximisers that will make life less worth living.  They are ways of affirming that worthwhileness and enhancing it. This book, practical and realistic as well as visionary, will keep that positive message before the reader’s eyes.  Joy is after all one of the best motivations we can have for change.”

The Arctic treeline is the frontline of climate change, where the trees have been creeping towards the pole for fifty years. These vast swathes of forests, which encircle the north of the globe in an almost unbroken green ring, comprise the world’s second largest biome.

Scientists are only just beginning to understand the astonishing significance of these northern forests for all life on Earth. Six tree species – Scots pine, birch, larch, spruce, poplar and rowan – form the central protagonists of Ben Rawlence’s story. In Scotland, northern Scandinavia, Siberia, Alaska, Canada and Greenland, he discovers what these trees and the people who live and work alongside them have to tell us about the past, present and future of our planet.

At the treeline, Rawlence witnesses the accelerating impact of climate change and the devastating legacies of colonialism and capitalism. But he also finds reasons for hope. Humans are creatures of the forest; we have always evolved with trees. The Treeline asks us where our co-evolution might take us next. Deeply researched and beautifully written, The Treeline is a blend of nature, travel and science writing, underpinned by an urgent environmental message.

Every Leaf a Hallelujah - Ben Okra

Mangoshi lives with her mum and dad in a village near the forest. When her mum becomes ill, Mangoshi knows only one thing can help her – a special flower that grows deep in the forest. The little girl needs all her courage when she sets out alone to find and bring back the flower, and all her kindness to overpower the dangers she encounters on the quest. Ben Okri brings the power of his mystic vision to a timely story that weaves together wonder, adventure and environmentalism.

 

Read our Librarian’s top climate choices for children here.