Carolyn's Reviews > Clade

Clade by James  Bradley
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really liked it
bookshelves: society, sf, climate-change, netgalley, australian-author


A clade is defined as "a life-form group consisting of an ancestor and all its descendants"(wikipedia.org). In this novel, James Bradley follows not only three generations of one family as they grapple with climate change but also the past and future of the human race as we must adapt to the changes we have wrought on our planet.

The novel opens in Antarctica with Adam Leith, a climate change scientist finding out that his wife Ellie is pregnant with their daughter Summer after two years of IVF. Adam is concerned about the changes in climate that he sees all around him - the melting of the polar ice, the increase in sea levels, the increase in acidity of the oceans, increased storms and floods and forest fires - are being ignored by politicians and the situation is spiraling out of control.

The book is written as a series of moments in the lives of Adam and his descendants so that instead of seeing climate change as a gradual effect we see more abrupt changes and are more aware of what is happening then the characters living their lives. This is particularly unsettling as we currently live with the early signs described by Bradley yet are doing little to take them seriously. Visiting Summer who is now an adult with a son of her own living in Cambridge, Adam reflects on the boiling frog syndrome where "warming of the planet was too slow to galvanise effective action" so that "people do not understand the scale of the transformation that is overtaking them".

Bradley describes an escalation in the devastation caused by warming on the planet. Parts of India and Bangladesh under water, massive storms and floods occurring regularly, vegetation changing and birds and bees disappearing. By choosing to show the effects of all this on one family he has somehow made the story more personal and real rather than something abstract. Through all this, Bradley imagines mankind continuing to adapt and survive and in the end his message is one of hope for our future.

With thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of the book to read and review
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Reading Progress

January 2, 2015 – Shelved
January 2, 2015 – Shelved as: to-read
April 19, 2015 – Started Reading
April 20, 2015 – Finished Reading
April 21, 2015 – Shelved as: society
April 21, 2015 – Shelved as: sf
April 21, 2015 – Shelved as: climate-change
April 21, 2015 – Shelved as: netgalley
May 1, 2015 – Shelved as: australian-author

Comments Showing 1-4 of 4 (4 new)

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Carolyn Thanks Rita! I saw that you enjoyed it too :)


Carolyn Lol! I've had a good year so far, not too many duds!


Phrynne I finished it and was just wondering why it was called Clade. Then I saw your explanation. Thanks :)


message 4: by Dan (new) - added it

Dan Thank you. I'm about 1/3rd of the way through. If I had read your review before going in, I'd have more of a sense of what to expect. My current disappointment stems from preconceptions. Time to reset. 2/3rds of the book to go, I'm going to approach it fresh.


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