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Robert Butler of the Ashden Directory notes William Sidelsky's review of the Oxfam-produced short-story collection Ox-tales: Air, Water, Fire and Earth in yesterday's Observer. The review recognises that climate change is becoming a something recurring theme for modern writers:

Robert Butler of the Ashden Directory notes William Sidelsky's review of the Oxfam-produced short-story collection Ox-tales: Air, Water, Fire and Earth in yesterday's Observer. The review recognises that climate change is becoming a something recurring theme for modern writers:

A masterclass in this respect is offered by Helen Simpson's "The Tipping Point", the wry internal monologue of an English professor who, while driving to give a seminar in the Highlands, remembers an affair he had with a German environmental activist. It's a brilliant, subtle piece of writing that manages to subvert the usual pieties, recasting the concerns of the activist girlfriend as hysterically unreasonable ("You were in a constant state of alarm. I wanted you to talk about me, about you and me, but the apocalyptic zeitgeist intruded").

Tipping Point has been published online previously and is well worth a read (though don't let that stop you buying the Oxfam collection). And of course the other great Helen Simpson story worth mentioning - an even better one perhaps - is In Flight Entertainment, also online, which appeared in Granta 100. It's not easy to write so politically, without being directly political. Both deal with the subject with enormous subtlety, dealing with the theme of inaction, but simultaneously acting as calls to action.

NB. This is the point when some generous donor, a cause or company wishing to draw attention to their work, should step in and offer a prize for the best short story dealing with the issue of climate change, which would act as an excuse to compile the best of them in one place.

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