Denial: A Novel (Hardcover)

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A futuristic thriller about climate change by the acclaimed screenwriter of First Cow, Meek’s Cutoff, and HBO’s Mildred Pierce.

The year is 2052. Climate change has had a predictably devastating effect: Venice submerged, cyclones in Oklahoma, megafires in South America. Yet it could be much worse. Two decades earlier, the global protest movement known as the Upheavals helped break the planet’s fossil fuel dependency, and the subsequent Nuremberg-like Toronto Trials convicted the most powerful oil executives and lobbyists for crimes against the environment. Not all of them. A few executives escaped arrest and went into hiding, including pipeline mastermind Robert Cave.

Now, a Pacific Northwest journalist named Jack Henry who works for a struggling media company has received a tip that Cave is living in Mexico. Hoping the story will save his job, he travels south and, using a fake identity, makes contact with the fugitive. The two men strike up an unexpected friendship, leaving Jack torn about exposing Cave—an uncertainty further compounded by the diagnosis of a life-threatening illness and a new romance with an old acquaintance. Who will really benefit from the unmasking? What is the nature of justice and punishment? How does one contend with mortality when the planet itself is dying?

Denial is both a page-turning speculative suspense novel and a powerful existential inquisition about the perilous moment in which we currently live.

About the Author

Jon Raymond is the author of the novels The Half-Life, Rain Dragon, and Freebird, and the story collection Livability, winner of the Oregon Book Award. He has collaborated on six films with the director Kelly Reichardt, including Old Joy, Wendy and Lucy, Meek’s Cutoff, Night Moves, First Cow, and the forthcoming Showing Up, numerous of which have been based on his fiction. He also received an Emmy Award nomination for his screenwriting on the HBO miniseries Mildred Pierce directed by Todd Haynes and starring Kate Winslet. He was the editor of Plazm Magazine, associate and contributing editor at Tin House magazine, and a member of the Board of Directors at Literary Arts. His writing has appeared in Zoetrope, Playboy, Tin House, The Village Voice, Artforum, Bookforum, and other places. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

Praise For…

“We need more brave books like Denial that imagine a future that’s not dystopic—but that can show us how we might get there and who we’ll become when we do.”—Amy Brady, Scientific American

"Enthralling...The not-so-distant future of Denial questions much of what we think we know about life and death and the consequences of our decisions...This subtle and morally engaging novel is a simple yet thought-provoking read. Raymond's chaste yet exquisitely descriptive language paints the world for what it is—in all of its beauty and destruction—and his well-constructed plot turns the thrill of the chase on its head."—Emma Mayer, Newsweek

Does the daily dump of terrible climate news, global pandemics, and crumbling democracies leave you feeling powerless and insignificant, like a passive spectator? Sometimes I just want a simple confirmation that what we’re seeing is really happening—not a sensationalized bummerfest or an uplifting affirmation, something more reality-adjacent…Denial feels like an opportunity to think about the complicated and distressing world in a way that doesn't assault the reader with re-heated takes and splashy disasters—instead letting the hyperobject of climate change simmer ominously, just below the surface.”—Martha Daghlian, Portland Mercury (“Favorite Books of 2022”)

“[A] quiet, sharp, dystopian fiction…Raymond approaches the well-trodden territory of doomsday literature from aslant…[T]he decision to treat the enormity of global warming as an event already settled—and its attendant political paradigm shift—mostly through quiet moments of interpersonal human interaction certainly distinguishes Denial from the more familiar apocalyptic narratives…[It] reads at times like an intellectualized episode of Black Mirror.”—Christopher Urban, The Baffler

“A far cry from your run-of-the-mill slice of speculative fiction, Denial prods at post-revolutionary disillusionment and dives into the muck of ‘transformative change’ with a defiantly steady hand.”—Connor Reed, Portland Monthly

“There are a wealth of recent novels imagining the climate disaster that will befall us and the destruction of social contracts. But Raymond’s version of climate change reinforces the fact that the most important crisis facing humanity is human nature itself.”Emily Firetog, Lithub

“[A]n intimate exploration of the power of denial for both good and ill, as well as the ways in which people can argue themselves around to any position given the right circumstances…[A] thoughtful, literary look at a world that has saved itself from disaster but still wants someone, whether rightly or wrongly, to blame for bringing it to that point in the first place.”—Doreen Sheridan, Criminal Element

Raymond’s style is so smooth and agreeably understated, and yet so tension-packed…A screenwriter as well as a novelist, he is less interested in doomsday and justice themes than in the complicated ways big moral causes play out. As calmly as the novel builds to its rapt conclusion, it’s a page-turner. A cool, compelling take on an incendiary topic.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Engaging…Raymond satisfies with a clever vision of a not-too-distant future. The moral ambiguity at the center leaves readers with much to chew on.”Publishers Weekly

“Novelist and screenwriter Raymond takes us into the future in this cautionary tale about the potential devastation of global warming. But it’s more than that. It’s also a story of love, loyalty, and morality, all presented in the form of a thriller…The carefully sculpted prose has an addictive quality: the startling first sentence compels us read the second sentence, and before we know it, we’re almost at the end. With its fully realized depiction of a world recovering from cataclysmic events that happened only a couple of decades earlier, this is a natural fit for fans of near-future thrillers and for followers of Jeff VanderMeer’s environmentally themed fiction.”—David Pitt, Booklist

“I haven’t read anything like this before. Jon Raymond has taken climate fiction in a new and exciting direction. In this post-apocalyptic world, the apocalypse itself has receded and the strange, maddening work of climate reparations has begun. This exhilarating novel is as fast-paced as a thriller, but the mystery at the heart of it is not who committed the crime but how to live in its eerie aftermath.”—Jenny Offill, author of Dept. of Speculation and the New York Times bestseller Weather 

“The future is so painful to think about, and yet I was totally hooked into Jon Raymond’s rendition of it in Denial, set in 2052: a world with new-fangled exhaustless cars but old philosophical quandaries, and older rituals: the bullfight, the scapegoat, the love interest. I blew through this book too quickly, but will be thinking about it for a long time to come.”—Rachel Kushner, author of The Flamethrowers and the New York Times bestseller The Mars Room

 “Denial is a riveting tale that dares to imagine the afterlife of meaningful climate action. Jon Raymond wonders beautifully what it might feel like to summon the collective will to alter our society's suicidal arrangement. A thrilling and boldly hopeful ode to moving on, however imperfectly.”—Claire Vaye Watkins, author of Gold Fame Citrus and I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness

“What if we took the climate crisis seriously enough to punish its worst perpetrators? Denial is a thrilling ride into a near future where corporate villains are being brought to justice, but the justice is complicated—and so are some of the villains. Jon Raymond is a deft, sharp, exhilarating storyteller whose gift is to make us laugh even as he’s asking dead-serious questions about our collective peril.”—Leni Zumas, author of the national bestseller Red Clocks

“Topical yet timeless, Denial is a layered investigation of our past and future, our perceptions and our blind spots. Jon Raymond writes with economy and elegance, crafting a finely-tuned story that is thoughtful, gripping and even moving all at the same time.”—Charles Yu, National Book Award-winning author of Interior Chinatown

Denial is a short, sharp book, a subtle exploration of what justice means on the other side of human-driven climate calamity. Jon Raymond has created a scarily plausible future, and against this future considers one of the pivotal questions of our age—how to hold responsible those who, in the dizzying days before the worst of things, profited off the planet’s destruction. There are no easy answers in this novel, only a deeply humane look at the chasm between crime and punishment, cause and consequence.”—Omar El Akkad, author of the national bestseller American War and What Strange Paradise

“Jon Raymond’s Denial re-casts the problem of how—and why—to write fiction about the climate crisis. It imagines our world not during the revolutionary spasm of retributive justice against the powerful that we may dream of, but after it: a struggling freelance journalist (yes, we will have those in the future too) gets a tip about a former oil executive who escaped arrest during the so-called 'Toronto Trials' and is now living as a fugitive in Mexico. The journalist’s long-game pursuit of this man, his efforts not simply to expose him but to get him to speak about his crimes, bring into play questions of forgiveness and complicity and their relevance in a deeply damaged world that is struggling to be re-born. Raymond’s eye for detail—for the things about us that must change, and the things about us that never will—makes Denial a coolly humane masterpiece.” —Jonathan Dee, author of Sugar Street and The Privileges

Product Details
ISBN: 9781982181833
ISBN-10: 1982181834
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: July 26th, 2022
Pages: 240
Language: English