... a mosaic-like compendium...full of such varied writing that there’s no opportunity for cliché to take hold. Some surprising connections flow through its different parts, however ... The sheer variety of approaches in the book reflect something of that frenzied feeling; the collection takes you on a joltingly rapid journey across the world (India, Bangladesh, Hawaii, Iceland). But that eclecticism is also what prevents A Tale of Two Planets from sinking in the kind of ideological mud which bogs down [other books], and a reminder that excellent environmental writing can come from literally anywhere—not just the frozen tundras of macho adventure-stories.
When the introduction has more content and brilliance than most books, you know you are in for a treat in the remaining pages ... Each part of the collection underlines the real physical consequences of the extractive economy that has led us to this climatic crisis and the vast range of human emotion that makes climate change much more than a scientific concept ... This collection may be best savored, contemplated, and reread as a prayer and as a call to action: think about what he’s saying but also enjoy the way he’s saying it.
True to the anthology’s title, these tales paint a picture of a world divided, but there are also hints about how to unite. I was struck, for instance, by a strand of conservatism running through the pain of those most deeply affected by poverty, environmental devastation, and climate change ... I came to see how conservation and conservatism, divided politically, come from the same spiritual root, giving me hope that we can unite people with disparate values around the shared intuition that destroying ancient systems is deeply tragic, and should not be undertaken merely for the sake of luxury condominiums. There are a few weaker moments of oversimplification...but far more often the authors highlight complicated truths ... Tales of Two Planets is not soothing. It is not simple or stable, and it refuses easy pieties. You may struggle to make sense of the voices, to fit them into your own overarching narrative, and you will fail because there is no single narrative—these are tales, not a tale, and they force you to ask instead of answering, to continue asking, each tale an answer you’ve probably never heard. When writing can make you do that, at least for a moment, it’s another reason for hope.
Most stories in the collection are told with a voice of a first-person witness, making palpable the anxiety and agony of the narrator ... The title of the book, Tales of Two Planets, ought to not be taken literally. Some of the ‘tales’ included aren’t tales at all—interspersed between stories and personal anecdotes are poems, including one from Margaret Atwood. More importantly, there isn’t a clear split that divides the planet into two narratives. Instead, we have a myriad of narratives, each about a unique adversity. However, the point of the book seems to be that despite seemingly different appearances, environmental problems around the world can be traced to a common root—that of thoughtless pollution and relentless pillaging of precious resources ... the book manages to take the reader on an evocative stroll through a wounded and scarred landscape that wraps around the world.
My descriptions come nowhere near doing justice to [the contributors'] stories and the power of their writing. You must read them and encounter their voices yourself ... I’ll admit that this anthology brought back visceral sensations and emotions that I sometimes fear I’ve grown too numbed by my daily consumption of climate news to feel anymore.
Mariana Enriquez tells the story of Riachuelo, a poisoned river in Argentina. Mohammed Hanif contemplates the millions of overlooked Pakistanis displaced by floods. Eritrean refugee Sulaiman Addonia observes: 'Refugees and the earth face the same marginalization, the same neglect, the same abuse.'Andri Snær Magnason charts the disappearance of glaciers in Iceland; Anuradha Roy considers the shrinking ice in the Himalayas, the source of water for millions. Futuristic tales by Pitchaya Sudbanthad and Sayaka Murata envision the elite cocooned from environmental ravages. Lauren Groff’s Florida story reckons with wastefulness and the vulnerability of the wild. Edwidge Danticat writes of toxic governmental corruption and a trash-fouled Haitian beach. Joy Williams protests ecocidal big-game hunting; Gaël Faye mourns lost forests and fireflies in Burundi. Yoked environmental and humanitarian crises in Egypt, Mexico, Hawaii, New Zealand, Bangladesh, Nigeria, and beyond are brought forward in masterful works elegiac, angry, and ironic in Freeman’s clarion global chorus.
This anthology showcases personal responses to climate change through literature ...This work will suit readers curious about the long-standing and wide-ranging effects of climate change, as lived and experienced by writers around the world.
Assembling the creative work of respected writers from both the developed and developing world, Freeman offers a sobering meditation on the future challenges that everyone will face ... Fierce and provocative, this diverse collection shows that climate change is not just a problem for developing nations. One day, it will become a matter of life and death for rich and poor alike ... A powerful and timely collection on a topic that cannot be ignored.