Acclaimed screenwriter Jon Raymond, known for First Cow, Meek’s Cutoff, and HBO Mildred Pierce, has now written Denial, an exciting new novel that reimagines the current climate crisis and questions the moral obligation humans have to each other in a future world of dog-eating dogs.
In 2052, humanity knows that past environmental disasters have been the catalyst for the global ecological problems of this world. After massive fires decimated South America, cyclones in the Midwest destroyed American agriculture and the city of Venice was submerged due to rising sea levels, humans are pointing the finger the world’s fossil fuel industry leaders. A global protest movement led by a group called The Upheavals has helped break Earth’s addiction to fossil fuels, and powerful oil executives have been convicted of environmental crimes.
Some of the oil executives fled, including Robert Cave, an engineer and pipeline genius. When Jack Henry, a reporter for a struggling newspaper in the Pacific Northwest, learns that Cave had dodged conviction by moving to Mexico, he tries to find him for an article.
Jack reunites with Cave in Guadalajara and, using a fake identity, strikes up a conversation. The two quickly become friends and Jack must decide if he still thinks it’s worth reporting Cave. At the same time, Jack struggles to understand love in a new relationship as he faces a terminal health diagnosis.
Denial questions the state of the world as well as the nature of man. How do we balance justice with the natural state of this new and unforgiving world? How should one live, act, and treat one’s fellow man, especially if he was brought up to believe that man is the enemy? And how do you face your own death sentence while the planet is burning?
The not so distant future of Denial’s questions most of those we think we know about life and death and the consequences of our decisions. Whereas Denial discusses climate change, this conversation is pleasantly understated as it is integrated into the discourse of the characters’ priorities that result from the moral dilemmas of their action.
This subtle and morally engaging novel is a simple yet thought-provoking read. Raymond’s chaste but delightfully descriptive language paints the world as it is – in all its beauty and destruction – and its well-constructed plot turns the thrill of the chase on its head.
Denial will be published by Simon & Schuster and is available July 26.