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‘The Great Derangement,’ Novelist Ghosh’s Meditation on Climate Change, is 2020-21 UConn Reads Selection

‘The Great Derangement,’ Novelist Ghosh’s Meditation on Climate Change, is 2020-21 UConn Reads Selection

At a moment when out-of-control wildfires and devastating hurricanes are the stuff of daily headlines, climate change is looming larger in the national conversation, a development that will be furthered during the academic year by the selection of Amitav Ghosh’s “The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable” for UConn Reads 2020-21.

Ghosh, an Indian-born novelist known for the lauded Ibis Trilogy and other works, wrote “The Great Derangement,” a non-fiction work, as an attempt to explain the “imaginative failure” of contemporary society in coming to grips with the scope of the challenge presented by climate change.

“One of the reasons climate change is ‘unthinkable’ is because there’s a long history of assuming the world has been more or less the same forever, and only changing gradually according to a set of well-known laws,” says Michael Willig, board of trustees distinguished professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, executive director of the Institute of the Environment, and the chair of the UConn Reads Steering Committee, that is involved with programming activities that are related to the book.

“In fact, we know there have been a lot of unpredictable, extreme events that have changed the course of life on earth, and that climate change isn’t just ‘business as usual,’” he says.
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