Summer reading: The Fifth Season

Book cover of The Fifth SeasonThe Fifth Season
N.K. Jemisin

N.K. Jemisin’s The Fifth Season, the first installment of her Broken Earth trilogy, introduces us to a world much like our own but one in which society is constructed around surviving regular tectonic cataclysms, following a woman who has been forced to hide her identity across a broken land. As the earth cracks and shifts, humanity is forced to deal with both the physical catastrophe of a volcanic-induced climate disaster and the pressure to fall back on tribalism as survival becomes a struggle. Within this foreign yet familiar setting, Jemisin explores how people are trapped by and break down racial, sexual, geographical, and psychological barriers. There are parallels with our own world–humanity facing planetary climate disasters, discrimination based on otherness, increasing tribalism. However, the unique system of magic central to the story (which also teaches geology in the vivid way only fiction can) transports the reader to a new, fantastic place and helps the audience make sense of the people and forces at work in Jemisin’s world.

Summer English Language Studies

This book is part of the 2019 Berkeley Summer Reading List. Stay tuned for more weekly posts!