This novel certainly had a different perspective than most books about climate change which I appreciated. The multiple points of views helped the reader to understand both the scientific and political aspects of the behind the scenes effort that goes into climate change policies. It really helped that the characters of Anna and Charlie were so realistic and normal. Being a casual couple with two young kids who still maintained their busy work lives was impressive but not totally surprising as it’s something that most parents have to do (though most parents don’t essentially have jobs that entail saving the earth from a climatic catastrophe). From their couple-y nicknames that make you baby barf in your mouth to their constant phone calls expressing their worry and concern, you can’t help but feel the affection in their relationship which strengthens the reader’s bond to the story. These two characters are so realistic that you could probably find a very similar couple on the street in real life. Which brings me to the third main character, Frank, whom I hope nobody could meet in real life.
Frank was a strange character to me from beginning to end. For the first half of the book, I kind of understood his analytical viewpoints since he’s a scientist and he can’t help looking at the world through his scientific lens. Though I must admit, his views romantic relationships took his approach way out of my comfort zone. The way he looked through the section of the newspaper filled with people advertising themselves and their romantic needs was pretty weird and personally unsettling. What really took it too far for me was his encounter with the woman on the metro. He actually had the mindset to follow her out of the metro and into the elevator simply because he liked her physical appearance. I don’t know about anybody else reading that part, but that screamed rapist/stalker to me and made me beyond uncomfortable; uncomfortable enough to start verbally expressing my discomfort to my very confused friend who was sitting next to me. It only got worse, though, when he made extended efforts to get in contact with this woman after his elevator encounter. I know that people who have read this novel often praise Robinson’s realistic portrayals of characters and situations, but I hope the character of Frank is far from realistic.