1st Edition

Water Stories in the Anthropocene Anglophone Climate-Change Fiction

By Angelo Monaco Copyright 2024
    208 Pages
    by Routledge

    Water Stories in the Anthropocene explores how climate change has emerged as a major theme in our daily lives as it poses a myriad of economic, scientific, political and cultural challenges in the age of the Anthropocene. In all its forms and manifestations, climate change is primarily a water crisis. Water scarcity, droughts, floods, deluge, rising sea levels, ice melting, wetlands loss, and sea pollution are among the main threats posed by climate change, wreaking havoc on both human and nonhuman forms of life. This book engages with instances of extreme events related to water (droughts, floods, deluges) and the impact of climate change on some waterbodies (seas and wetlands) in contemporary Anglophone novels. By taking into account a corpus of novels ranging from the various areas of the Anglophone world, and thus shuttling between the Global North and the Global South, the book reads these novels as ‘water stories’. This volume pays attention to the pervasive presence of water in all aspects of our lives, thus showing how narratives can offer insightful accounts of the present water crisis. Alternating between an econarratological perspective, reflections on the Anthropocene and the human/nonhuman imbrications within the blue humanities, the book contributes significantly to the considerations of the imaginative possibilities of these water stories, showing how narratives can offer insightful accounts of the present water crisis.

    Introduction: Water Stories, the Anthropocene and Climate Change

    Aquatic culture, blue humanities and climate change

    What is climate change?

    What is the Anthropocene?

    From waves of ecocriticism to the blue humanities

    Cli-fi: climate change fiction or climate fiction?

    Book organisation


    1.         Water Scarcity and Drought

    Karen Jayes: For the Mercy of Water (2012)

    Paolo Bacigalupi: The Water Knife (2015)

    Cynan Jones: Stillicide (2019)


    2.         Flooding and Deluge

    Amitav Ghosh: The Hungry Tide (2005)

    Amitav Ghosh: Gun Island (2019)

    Sarah Moss: Summerwater (2020)


    3.         Wetlands

                Graham Swift: Waterland (1983)

    Jhumpa Lahiri: The Lowland (2013)

    Alexis Wright: The Swan Book (2013)


    4.         Storied Seas

                Ben Smith’s Doggerland (2019)

    Monique Roffey’s Archipelago (2012)

    Nnedi Okorafor’s Lagoon (2014)


    Conclusion: The Future of the Blue Humanities


    Angelo Monaco, Ph.D. from the University of Pisa (2017), is a Senior Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Bari “Aldo Moro”. He is a section editor of the journal Postcolonial Text. He specialises in contemporary South Asian and British literature and his primary lines of research include environmental concerns, trauma studies, globalisation studies and postcolonialism. He is the author of Jhumpa Lahiri. Vulnerabilità e resilienza (ETS, 2019).