Image: Eliseu Cavalcante, Photo from series "Being Mangrove/Ser Manguezal," 2019–2020.
Our November 2020 issue, the second part of our double issue of writing on the climate crisis that began last month, coincides with an inauspicious date: as of November 4, 2020, Donald Trump has made official the United States’ breach of its commitment to the landmark 2015 Paris accord on climate change. The protagonist of this month's work is, by and large, the natural world in its many iterations; all of the writing here sounds the warning of the human cost of environmental destruction. Photographer Eliseu Cavalcante takes us to the mangrove forests of Bahia, Brazil; Ondjaki, translated by Stephen Henighan, gives us a farcical view of urban catastrophe provoked by human folly; Isabel Zapata, translated by Robin Myers, depicts the intertwined destinies of a mother orca, her dead calf, and the pilot of an empty plane that is rapidly losing fuel and altitude; Yu Jian, translated here by Xin Xu, composes an elegy to a majestic elephant as it marches across Asia to its death; and Markéta Pilátová, translated by Sára Foitová, traces the reverberations of the December 2004 tsunami in Indonesia back to the Czech Republic.
Toward Our Common Destruction: Humans and the Environment
The protagonist of this month’s work is the natural world in its multitudes.
In Puget Sound
before their paths divided,
they formed, together, three glints of light and shadow moving on at last
Being Mangrove: Eliseu Cavalcante in Belmonte, Bahia, Brazil
In Being Mangrove, Eliseu Cavalcante explores the relationship between humans and the mangrove forests of Bahia, Brazil.
The Sky’s Seams Burst
Rain was no longer rain!
The shock that was yet to come had long ago passed her by.
O, it is a defeated god, approaching the dusk of time.
Reviewed by Mauricio Ruiz
Drawing on unpublished letters and journals, the Polish journalist always keeps an eye on revealing details in her new book "Ellis Island: A People's History," the result of extensive research into the manifold trajectories of those who set foot on a new continent and helped forge the modern US.
Reviewed by Martha Anne Toll
Via a forceful monologue, Diop's novel creates a tale of revenge with biblical overtones as it looks at the relatively little-known story of Senegalese riflemen fighting in the French army in the First World War.