Weather Woman

Cai Em­mons

Foreword Reviews - - Reviews Adult Fiction -

Red Hen Press (NOVEM­BER) Soft­cover $16.95 (356pp), 978-1-59709-600-3

Be­neath a New Jer­sey sky, a young girl with the deck stacked against her falls in love with the weather. Years later, feel­ing an odd fit with her PHD pro­gram at MIT, she heads north to try her hand at tele­vi­sion me­te­o­rol­ogy, whirling into pow­er­ful per­sonal re­al­iza­tions in the process.

In Cai Em­mons’s Weather Woman, Gaia comes alive in the girl next door. The novel may fit the def­i­ni­tion of a work of mag­i­cal re­al­ism, but its ap­peal lies in its deeper truths. Bron­wyn—lovely, bril­liant, and re­spected by some peers, but put off course by her own un­cer­tain­ties—first un­earths her abil­ity to di­rect the weather by ac­ci­dent; it arises in her fury against a storm that threat­ens her life.

A few test runs later, she’s learned that she can shift weather sys­tems and nat­u­ral dis­as­ters at her whim. It’s drain­ing to do, but rife with pos­si­bil­i­ties. Halt­ing deadly tor­na­does, stop­ping rag­ing fires, sum­mon­ing rapids, mak­ing the sun shine through the rain: she trans­forms nat­u­ral mo­ments again and again. Her ex­er­cises cul­mi­nate in the ques­tion of whether she may ul­ti­mately be able to com­bat global warm­ing—one pow­er­ful woman against all of hu­mankind’s most dev­as­tat­ing ef­fects on the planet.

The novel doesn’t lead with its pol­i­tics, but it still func­tions beau­ti­fully as an ecofem­i­nist al­le­gory. Bron­wyn may very well be the most pow­er­ful woman on earth, but her abil­i­ties aren’t ac­ces­si­ble un­til she rises above the snick­er­ing and judg­ment of the cat­e­gor­i­cally in­fe­rior men around her. For Bron­wyn, pri­or­i­tiz­ing her au­then­tic self, wild­ness and all, proves to be earth-mov­ing. Lit­er­ally.

El­e­vated, el­e­men­tal lan­guage moves the story along. In Bron­wyn’s con­fronta­tions with na­ture, lines are both sci­en­tific and se­duc­tive. She gath­ers a small, ap­pre­cia­tive, and awed co­hort and trav­els far to ex­plore her po­ten­tial; it is a worth­while trip, invit­ing cel­e­bra­tion of—and ac­tivism to pre­serve—our one shared home. MICHELLE ANNE SCHINGLER

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