For fans of Robert Macfarlane or Elizabeth Rush, National Magazine Award winner and The Nation columnist Ben Ehrenreich layers climate science, mythologies, nature writing, and personal experiences into a stunning reckoning of our current moment and our all-too-human urge to grapple with apocalypse.
A book about the literal and figurative end of time and what that means for us as conscious beings, Desert Notebooks looks at how both the unprecedented pace of destruction to our environment and our increasingly unstable global sociopolitical institutions have led to an existential crisis that is orders of magnitude greater than any humankind has confronted before. As inhabitants of the Anthropocene, what might some of our own histories tell us about how to grapple with apocalypse? And how might the geologies and ecologies of desert spaces inform how we see and act towards time?
Employing an elegant, discursive style that interweaves memoir with science writing, creation myths, and history, National Magazine Award winner and The Nation columnist Ben Ehrenreich uses the desolate landscape of the American desert –the main locales for the book are Joshua Tree and Las Vegas– as a springboard to examine how we formulate our concepts of time and what it means to confront the looming apocalypse. Desert Notebooks is a moving confrontation with deep time and a meditation on landscape in the face of climate change. Faced with an uncertain future, Ehrenreich argues there is comfort in reflecting on the role we humans have played in our own demise in the past. The difference is that this time the clock may finally be running out for good.