India’s finest exemplar of the English language could have played in the “V” and churned out more of his classy prose. But in stepping outside the margins of fiction and taking up the very real issue of climate change in his latest book, The Great Derangement, Amitav Ghosh shows us—and his peers—that a higher, nobler purpose guides the written word. More importantly, in warning his target audience of the perils of unbridled western-style consumption, Ghosh strikes a contrarian note that only the foolhardy would ignore. The long summers and freezing winters, the ferocious tornadoes and tsunamis, the forest fires and cloudbursts, are all trying to send us a message while we blithely zip around in our SUVs and unwrap the plastic from our online purchases. Ghosh knocks us on the head to ask: is this the kind of planet we want our grandchildren to inhabit? Salut.