Clade is a novel of rare literary power, unafraid of either emotion or the narrative satisfactions of speculative fiction. It encompasses powerfully the scale of vast runaway change and the intimate, differing soundings of grief. A narrative with a multi-generational sweep, Clade begins with Adam, a scientist stationed in Antarctica as the great ice sheets begin to crack. In Sydney, Adam’s partner Ellie, an artist with a fascination for the intricate, awaits the results of fertility treatment. This short, anxious stasis portends that our easy luck as a species may be about to run out.
James Bradley structures Clade masterfully. While the narrative skips forward in time, and shifts its perspective to encompass a range of new characters, its focus and trajectory never falter. There is a thematic finesse in the intertwining dualities that thread through the novel: the repeatability of science against the intuition of art; physical distance mirroring emotional absence; the swelling, dipping waves of grief and endurance. One of the great novels of climate change, Clade is ambitious, clear-eyed and possessed of a quiet hope in human endurance.