We are all a little racist in this global village called the Earth.
Love in the Time of Global Climate Change is set in Bangalore in India, where the main character, Tomáš, arrives for an international science conference. There he not only has to contend with culture shock, the xenophobic attitudes of his international colleagues and feelings of rootlessness, but also his own helplessness and bittersweet memories. He searches for the roots of stereotypes in his own thinking, but due to the consistent use of the second-person plural, it is ultimately the reader he is addressing. The narrator juxtaposes the reality of India with Tomáš’s experiences from the sharply contrasting country of Iceland, where a first-person narrative appears. These are the sections about Tomáš’s love story with an emancipated Indian woman. The protagonist is preoccupied with the problems of the contemporary world: the lack of academic rigour, the nation’s past, xenophobia, racism, migration, cultural stereotypes and the differences between East and West. At the same time, he is a modern-day outcast, a person without a home or anchor.
Pánek’s distinctive style, giving the impression of a hurried and spoken form of language, flows naturally, maintaining the tension and heightening the absurdity of a chaotic world. The readability and believability are bolstered by the author’s experiences as an émigré, thanks to which the novel reads almost like a travelogue.
“Love in the Time of Global Climate Change is a revelation. It is a contemporary work of literature with a distinctive flow of speech that attempts to formulate the rootlessness of modern man while examining the parochialism of racism and xenophobia from the perspective of a citizen of the world.”
“The author convincingly depicts accelerated learning and communication – the voice of a lost nomad. Pánek’s fascinating style makes his work unique among Czech and international prose dealing with expatriot themes.”
About the author
Josef Pánek (b. 1966) is a writer, mountaineer, musician and molecular geneticist. He was awarded his doctorate at the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics of Charles University and now works as a molecular geneticist at the Institute of Microbiology of the Czech Academy of Sciences. Pánek lived abroad for an extensive period. He is the author of a collection of short stories, Kopáč opálů (The Opal Digger, 2013), and the novella Láska v době globálních klimatických změn (Love in the Time of Global Climate Change, 2017), which was awarded the Magnesia Litera for prose.
Selected published translations (4)
Die Liebe in Zeiten des Klimawandels German
L'amour au temps du changement climatique French
L'amore al tempo dei cambiamenti climatici Italian