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The month in books

Black holes, environmental catastrophe and disease—this month’s selection is not for the faint hearted

By Olivia Laing   November 2012

This is not a crop of books to make one feel sanguine about the future. From Alzheimer’s disease and climate change to black holes capable of swallowing up entire galaxies, there seems to be an unending phalanx of potential disasters ahead. Fortunately for the anxious reader, these are also books with an infectious faith in the diagnostic and curative powers of narrative itself.

Take The Robber of Memories: A River Journey through Colombia (Granta, £16.99). In 2011, travel writer Michael Jacobs voyaged up the Magdalena, the once beautiful and now grievously polluted setting for Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s famous novel Love…

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