Noah’s Children: One Man’s Response to the Environmental Crises A Novel
Hamilton Warring is a man driven by a desire to inspire change. On a professional level as a local newspaper reporter, he spreads the word about the environment in peril; on a personal level, he strives to learn from previous mistakes. But Ham struggles to make meaningful connections — with his increasingly estranged daughter, with the intriguing women he encounters, with a public seemingly indifferent to the looming threat of global warming. When he spearheads the creation of Earthstudies, a web-based forum for discussion and information collection, Ham takes his mission across the country, embarking on a journey that may change his life forever, for better or for worse.
Noah’s Children is a curious mix of fiction and nonfiction; the events are fictional, but the information, the controversy, and the issues raised are very much based in reality. And the fundamental question raised by both the novel and its protagonist is what will it take to shake us out of our complacency?
While the novel can get a bit preachy at times—of course, when you’re talking about massive extinctions and global climate change, a little preachiness is warranted, I think—it triumphs in the exploration of its protagonist. Ham is deeply flawed, obsessive, myopic, sometimes even somewhat misanthropic, but that’s all by design. He is our proxy, representing both our virtues and our failures. His journey becomes synonymous with that of all of mankind: hope, disillusionment, outrage, fear…they’re all present in Ham. But he also becomes a symbol of the Earth itself. His happiness, his interactions with others, his very ability to live is affected by what he learns, his conduct, and his decisions. He is so burdened by his knowledge, his despair, and the omnipresent pressure of looming catastrophe, that even in moments of peace and contentment, those darker, deeper thoughts are never far from his mind. What often makes him unlikable is what also makes him compelling.
Noah’s Children isn’t perfect, but it is a valuable exercise in opening lines of communication—a key first step to initiating lasting change.
Chris Hayden has been working at City Book Review since 2012, so that makes him the keeper of knowledge. He manages the office and book reviewers (all 200 of them!), which is no small feat. If you’re looking at the book reviews here, you’re seeing them because he sent the books out for review. Without him, this place would fall apart, because no one else in the office knows how to use the postage machine. Two words: job security.
|Page Count||315 pages|
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