Climate change is one subject that does not get the necessary urgency that it requires from our government and ordinary citizens. I would like to believe that the floods that are currently taking place across the country are signs of what to come if we do not give climate change the attention it deserves. There is doubt that there’s imminent danger if we do not change our attitude with regard to preserving our climate.
And in his debut novel, Alistair Mackay is giving us a bit of warning about what more is to come.
Set in the Mother City, in It Doesn’t Have To Be This Way, Alistair imagines what Cape Town would like in the face of climate catastrophe through the characters of three queer friends.
Luthando, Viwe, and Malcolm not only have to do everything in their might to warn and stop those in power to preserve the climate, but have to rely on each other for support in the face of this climate catastrophic environment that has further deepen inequality in an already unequal society.
Human memory, love, fear, trauma, technology, climate change, homophobia, inequality, privilege, resilience, and human relations are some of the themes that serve up the storyline.
Inside the pages of this book is not only a story about climate change, but there’s also a love story of three queer men who not only have to worry about the dangers of climate change and technology, but have to deal with homophobic society and family members and toxic religion that still frown up their sexual choices.
I need to admit that this is the first time I have read a book that not only questioned my Christian convictions but my allyship to a just and non-discriminatory society.
As a heterosexual and staunch Christian man, perusing through the pages of this book, I had to confront my own long held Bible-supported attitude and discrimination towards queer people. I was reminded how God is love, something that the likes of Lindiwe (Viwe’s mother) and many of us Christians should know by heart that God loves each and every person irrespective of their sexual preferences.
It Doesn’t Have To Be This Way is a book that will not only change our attitude towards climate change, but for religious people, it demands that we do away with our homophobic attitude and bigotry.
The scribe is a queer man and climate change activist, and as such, his personal experience can easily be seen on how he managed to tell this story through the three queer characters.
The text is engaging and educational at the same time. And for a debut novel, Alistair should be congratulated on this wonderful work.
How he managed to tie the issue of climate climate and sexuality in this story is just brilliant.
I am looking forward to reading more of Alistair’s work in the future.