The Year of No Summer

A nonfiction book by Rachel Lebowitz.

Rachel Lebowitz

On April 10, 1815, Indonesia's Mount Tambora erupted. The resulting build-up of ash in the stratosphere altered weather patterns and led, in 1816, to a year without a summer. Instead, there were June snowstorms, food shortages, epidemics, inventions and the proliferation of new cults and religious revivals.

In these linked lyric essays, Lebowitz not only charts the events and effects of the apocalyptic year, but also weaves in history, fairytale, mythology and memoir to ruminate on weather and the natural world, motherhood, transformation, war, the human appetite for destruction and our search for God and meaning in times of disaster. (From Biblioasis)

From the book

Long ago, before you or I or even our grandmothers were born, there was a city where birds died. They left their homes in the distant forests and dropped onto the dirt. It was cold, and the sky was rose or blue or speckled with bodies: people looked up — great whoosh of air. Then are became were. Then a girl picked up a body and held it in a kerchief but cold still seeped, icicle through cloth.

The girl's hands were freezing. Ice grew between her fingers like webs, frost stuck her eyelashes together. Her lips were red and chapped and the bird she held was red, but still it was as if colour had been leached away. The leaves on the trees were black. The girl opened her mouth, glint of icicle teeth. The crowd whispered and backed away, making the sign of the cross and stumbling over the others.

From The Year of No Summer by Rachel Lebowitz ©2018. Published by Biblioasis.