Narrative Empathy in James Bradley’s Clade: Disability, Ecosickness and Hope

by Angelo Monaco

In his latest novel Clade (2015), Australian author James Bradley portrays
apocalyptic scenarios in the aftermath of the ubiquitous climate change that is
affecting our planet, while following the human conflicts of three generations
of the Leith family. And yet, this article argues that the novel privileges an
optative mood instead of the traditional collective catastrophe of canonical
eco-fiction. To do so, the article scrutinises some formal strategies of narrative
empathy, such as character identification and multiple focalisation, which favour
the reader’s emotional engagement. In the novel, vulnerable manifestations
disclose a profound empathic orientation, addressing an ethics of care
that implicates the reader affectively.