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Cover of The Displacements, a novel by Bruce Holsinger

Riverhead Books

The Displacements: A Novel by Bruce Holsinger

Published July 2022.

Two of my favorite fiction genres are academic and climate novels. Nobody has yet to combine the two.

The latest climate novel I read is one of the best. The Displacements: A Novel tells the story of an affluent Florida family that ends up in a FEMA climate refugee camp after a Category 6 hurricane makes landfall. 

In the most recent Universities on Fire nonfiction book I read, Charleston: Race, Water, and the Coming Storm, the overriding theme is that the worst effects of climate change will be felt most by those with the fewest resources. 

That is undoubtedly true, but it is not the whole story. The Displacements brilliantly dramatizes how nobody will be immune from the worst effects of climate change.

In The Displacements, privilege is no shield from climate-induced misery. There is no shortage of highly paid-professionals whose lifestyles keep them deeply in debt and living paycheck to paycheck.

For more Americans than we want to acknowledge, a hurricane, flood or wildfire will be all that it takes to pop the bubble of upper-middle-class security.

Do you think that, as an industry, higher education is adequately planning for climate change? 

What we need in academia is not one more nonfiction book about climate change (although everyone should be reading Universities on Fire) but a campus climate change novel.

We may need the emotional punch of fiction to catalyze campus climate action.

Campus novels that I’ve loved include:

  • The Guest Lecture by Martin Riker (my review)
  • The Shakespeare Requirement: A Novel by Julie Schumacher (my review)
  • The Nix by Nathan Hill (my review)
  • The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach (my review)
  • Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis (which I reviewed but didn’t like)
  • Moo by Jane Smiley
  • Joe College by Tom Perrotta
  • Straight Man by Richard Russo
  • The Lecturer’s Tale and Publish and Perish by James Hynes
  • Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher
  • Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon
  • The Human Stain by Philip Roth

Note: I just discovered that Julie Schumacher has a third book, The English Experience, in The Dear Committee Member trilogy, and I am excited to read it.

Climate change novels that I’ve read and reviewed include:

Can you add any campus or climate fiction recommendations?

What are you reading?

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