The Sea and Summer

Turner’s The Sea and Summer takes place in far future Australia, where the greenhouse effect has led to eternal summers and encroaching sea level. The inhabitants have been split into two castes: the well-off ten percent are known as Sweet while the wretched ninety percent are known as Swill. The Sweet live precariously in middle-class suburbs, never knowing if their luck will continue; while the Swill are jammed into enormous, barely maintained high rises that flood with sewage at the whiff of rain. The book closely follows the paths of two Sweet children who drop to the fringe of Swill territory when their father loses his job and commits suicide. Climate change is an obvious theme, but I found the book more interesting for its treatment of the caste system, which, sadly, is as relevant to present-day capitalism as to this darkly imagined future.