Daylight Come

Diana McCaulay | Jamaica

I had never heard the term climate fiction until I read Daylight Come. My knee-jerk reaction was it would be similar to the sci-fi-type movies about the end of the world, featuring some reclusive scientist who makes a happen-stance discovery about something cataclysmic. The authorities ignore their warning until an asteroid slams into Earth, and then all hell breaks loose.

That’s not what happens in this book.  

It’s 2084 and Diana McCaulay’s Bajacu is no longer a paradise: the sun is deadly, food is scarce, rivers and oceans are dried up, nature is close to extinction, and life is solely about survival. The temperature rises to scorching temperatures during the day, that society is forced to operate—school and work—at night when it’s cooler. The population over 40 is considered a burden on resources and are expendable.

We follow Bibi and Sorrel, mother and daughter who are forced to leave the city due to an evacuation order. But Sorrel convinces Bibi to head to the mountains where tribal bands are rumored to live in cooler temperatures with more readily available food. But there’s no guarantee they will make it: between the uncertainty of having to find shelter from the sun, to not knowing if these people are real or myth, or if she and her mother will even be welcome by this tribe.

For me this was such an interesting adventure story with strong female characters who are fierce, decisive, broken, but determined. It’s a well-written, well-paced story that hopefully will make you conscious of the drastic changes that can happen when normal life disappears.

I really loved that this is a believable story. You feel the heat, the hunger, the frustration, and the loneliness of the characters. As an environmental activist living in Jamaica, McCaulay uses her expertise to describe the depletion and scarcity that’s possible, but she also includes a cultural degradation that is intriguing. The family unit ceases to exist. The young are preferred while the “old’ are triaged; they are despised and blamed for allowing such devastating loss to happen. This book is just a real eye-opener.

For more insight into Daylight Come, read my conversation with Diana McCaulay.

“I don’t think about humanity. I think about how much of this breadfruit I’m gonna get, if it can be eaten at all. If I’ll ever lie in a river again, or if it’ll be back to licking the underside of rocks and sucking on agaves.”

-Diana McCaulay

First published: 2020
Instagram: @dmccaulay

Twitter: @dmccaulay

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