Harvey. Maria. Irma. Sandy. Katrina. We live in a time of unprecedented hurricanes and catastrophic weather events, a time when it is increasingly clear that climate change is neither imagined nor distant―and that rising seas are transforming the coastline of the United States in irrevocable ways.
This is a book about language, first and foremost, a literary approach to a real-world problem. So while facts and figures do find their way in, conveying how fast the waters will rise or how far the sea may ultimately intrude, they are not the main focus ... Rush captures nature with precise words that almost amount to poetry; the book is further enriched with illuminating detail from the lives of those people inhabiting today’s coasts ... The dispatches of the subtitle really come straight from the people on the front lines of this drowning ... To me, these are the most intense portions of the book, yet there is no character, not even Rush herself, to guide you through the whole of this story. Nor is there really a plot to follow, not even a chronology that points the way through a series of essays veering from haunting survivors’ tales to poetic musings on science. It’s an intentional series of vignettes, however, bolstered by deep reporting and a sense of history, reminiscent in part of W. G. Sebald’s works evoking place, even up to including photographs, like the pictures of rampikes that mark various chapters. It’s often a treat to figure out where Rush is going with any particular story ... Elegies like this one will play an important role as people continue to confront a transformed, perhaps unnatural world, and grieve for the doomed or already lost.
Elizabeth Rush's Rising: Dispatches From the New American Shore is a revelation ... Their stories, told through a combination of lyrical reportage and first-person accounts from her subjects, coalesce into a moving and urgent portrait ... Rising is a clarion call.
In her lyrical and fact-packed investigative effort, Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore, Elizabeth Rush successfully attempts to bridge the gap between the scientific and a terrifying aesthetic ... Climate change literature is notoriously dry and pessimistic. Rush does her best to avoid these pitfalls by weaving data into personal tales that don’t shy away from doubts ... This honest vulnerability is Rush’s best narrative approach ... The author’s largely successful lyrical approach to environmental writing is complemented by the structure of her storytelling ... Rush’s effort to make scientific journalism digestible is also at times bogged down by esoteric language that might inadvertently distance the reader ... Rush makes her writing part of the reader’s journey to actively seek out the unfamiliar.