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What Keeps You Up?

A Category 6 Hurricane Hits the US in a Gripping Novel About Climate Change

In his book, The Displacements, author Bruce Holsinger imagines rich Americans turned into refugees. 

Bruce Holsinger

Bruce Holsinger

Photographer: Stacey Evans

“We had this fear, when my publishers knew what I was writing next and that it was going to come out in the summer. The advanced copies of my last novel, The Gifted School, were going around just when the college admissions scandal broke. And that became a talking point, not just for me, but for the media that were covering the book. The Wall Street Journal called it the novel that predicted the college admissions scandal, which is bizarre, the idea that a novel would have a kind of predictive power.” Novelist and literature professor Bruce Holsinger publishes his latest novel last week, The Displacements, about what might happen if the US were struck by the world’s first Category 6 hurricane. —As told to Eric Roston.

What keeps me up at night? The big thing would probably be acceleration. Rain bombs—accelerating the amount of moisture falling in certain areas in a compressed time frame. Hurricanes accelerating because of warmer ocean waters. That’s the scenario that happens at the beginning of my novel, which is about the world’s first Category 6 hurricane. The sudden acceleration of a hurricane with really warm offshore waters is a nice metaphor for global warming more generally. We are just getting this relentless news. Acceleration on top of acceleration.