Beautiful, melancholic, and tells you more on a hundred pages than many books manage on 500+. Glimpses of life – sad, but never only sad, never unbearably sad – with and in the climate catastrophe. How there’s both suffering and beauty. Very glad I read this.
Beware: full spoilers! Also probably incomplete and possibly incomprehensible.
Climate catastrophe, seen in glimpses across generations:
- Jude has been teaching at uni forever, from home for the past years. Discovers the library is decaying into ruins and helps the librarian and some others to select useful books and distribute them far and wide.
- Bernard stays home, takes over the neighbourhood with sensible local plants and knowledge. From an old book taken from that library, he gets the idea of forming trees into furniture and even houses. Finds a new species, a golden arbutus, and forms a bank.
- Man apprentices forever to build the perfect violin despite the lack of proper 400ppm wood and other materials. Manages when his teacher is close to dying and gives it to the grown woman with kids who used to be a prodigy.
- His friend J is known for her healing and knowledge of plants. She is super old and the last one to remember the og recipient of the violin when her granddaughter comes into town to play for a Canadian delegation – she plays in the living Golden Arbutus cathedral that J’s friend? grandson? has been building.