This is a pretty standard novel, but with an interesting
twist. While the author insists it is not science fiction, it does take
place 25 years in the future, and focuses on the environmental carnage
that humans have wrought upon the planet. This makes it much more interesting
as a political rant than as a story.
The best parts of the book are the speculations on
what our world would be like in 2026. In California, where the story
takes place, it rains and floods all the time, and most animal species
have died. There are few choices of food, and no alcohol except sake.
Resources are few and far between. It stinks of real possibility because
the author doesn't try anything too outlandish, just common-sense ways
that ordinary people would have adapted to this new environment.
The novel alternates every chapter in the future with
a chapter of the main character's earlier life in the 1990s as an environmental
activist. The flashbacks are told in third person while the future story
unfolds in first, giving it a more in-your-face grittiness, just like
that dismal future world.
The book was pretty depressing, though some parts were
funny and the characters were pretty likable. The overall cynicism is
not just found in the grumpy attitudes of the protagonist but in the
fact that the book does not really promote any moral or lesson; it seems
to say that this screwed-up future world is inevitable. And realizing
our country's current environmental ignorance, this extrapolation is
looking harder and harder to avoid.