by Joanne Stubbs
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Pub Date 06 Oct 2022 | Archive Date 07 Oct 2022
A few decades into the twenty-first century, in their permanently flooded garden in Cornwall, Cathy and her wife Ephie give up on their vegetable patch and plant a paddy field instead. Thousands of miles away, expat Margaret is struggling to adjust to life in Kuala Lumpur, now a coastal city. In New Zealand, two teenagers marvel at the extreme storms hitting their island.
But they are not the only ones adapting to the changing climate. The starfish on Cathy’s kitchen window are just the start. As more and more sea creatures begin to leave the oceans and invade the land, the new normal becomes increasingly hard to accept.
‘Joanne Stubbs is a brilliant storyteller. Courageous, confident and intelligent, she explores the horrors of a fading planet in denial of its own guilt. Important and unputdownable.’ — Fay Weldon
‘Set in a vividly imagined, watery near-future, where the boundaries between the inhabitants of land and sea are increasing blurred, this debut novel is an original and powerful exploration of the devastation climate change wreaks on ordinary lives. The Fish is a wonderfully absorbing and skilful work by a highly talented writer.’ — Emma Timpany, author of Travelling in the Dark
‘An impressive debut: beautifully written, immersive, prophetic, terrifying and wonderful. I could not put it down!’ — Melanie Golding, author of The Replacement
‘The Fish is a finely tuned, subliminal commentary on how good we are at ignoring the damage we inflict on our precious earth. The writing is slick, the world is bizarre, and the impending doom is palpable. Brilliant, clever, and important.’ — Karla Neblett, author of King of Rabbits
Average rating from 27 members
*Sent to me to review*
I can't explain how much I loved this book. Joanne Stubbs' 'The Fish' is the first climate fiction novel I've read, and I'd hesitate to describe it as climate fiction because she manages to capture the emotion, anxiety and ignorance that anyone who has worried about the environment has either felt or witnessed.
The story is seen from the perspective of Cathy & Ephie in Cornwall, Margaret in Kuala Lumpur and Ricky and Kyle in New Zealand. It takes you on a journey which sees people from scientific backgrounds, religious backgrounds and those viewing the climate catastrophe from youthful perspectives, and shows just how much people struggle to adapt to the changing climate, even in the sea creatures seem to be.
"The cat knows something we don't... they have plenty of wild instinct left in them."
It echoes all too well the reactions we see in real life to climate change, from those overcome with anxiety and worry about how to help, to those who simply want to ignore what is happening, even when it is right in front of their eyes. In particular, Margaret's worry toward the situation and her husband's total apathy, as well as his mentioning of their gate that will keep everything out is a harrowing mirror of the people who continue as normal and think that it will never impact them. **SPOILERS AHEAD ** The irony is that it is Margaret who ends up losing her life to the impacts of the rapid and uncontrollable environmental change they endure.
For a relatively short book, I have been left reeling and emotional about the state of our world, and knowing that if by some bacterial mutation chance, the fish literally started walking out of the sea, we still probably wouldn't change our ways.
I greatly enjoyed this book, and I hadn't quite heard of it before. Just saw the beautiful cover and had to request. It's the first climate fiction book, and the anxieties the author felt for the climate leapt off the page, I found myself dreading the eventual calamity that is soon going to happen if the human race doesn't change its ways.
A must read book.