People hunting monkeys in the jungle once devised a simple yet effective trap: When the creature found a banana in a large jar with a narrow neck, it would plunge its paw in to retrieve it. But it couldn't let go. And unless the monkey released the banana, it was stuck.
We are, of course, the stuck monkey, paralysed by our modern lifestyles and consumer habits: our constant stream of online shopping deliveries, our compulsive dependence on digital devices, our obsession with our pets. These addictions, as small and harmless as they may seem, are quietly destroying the planet. And the eco-friendly alternatives that alleviate our guilt are often not much better.
In Stuck Monkey, James Hamilton-Paterson uncovers the truth behind the everyday habits fuelling the climate crisis. Drawing on eye-opening research and shocking statistics, he mercilessly dissects a wide spectrum of modern life: pets, gardening, sports, vehicles, fashion, wellness, holidays, and more. Ferociously unflinching and intelligent, this book will make you think twice about the 'innocent' habits we often take for granted.
James Hamilton-Paterson is a novelist and non-fiction writer whose books defy easy categorisation. Gerontius won the Whitbread Prize; Cooking with Fernet Branca was longlisted for the Booker Prize. His acclaimed books on the oceans, including Seven-Tenths, have been widely translated, and his books about aviation have set new standards for writing about aircraft. Born and educated in England, Hamilton-Paterson has lived in the Philippines and Italy and now makes his home in Austria.
"A marvellous, anecdote-packed mix of head-on and sideways takes on how corporate, personal and collective actions are trashing the planet and bringing about a climate and ecological emergency [...] I would defy anyone to read this excellent book and not be forced into taking a long, hard look at how they live their life, and then take urgent steps to change it."
– Professor Bill McGuire
"A highly original and lucid portrayal of the eco-catastrophe we face [...] throughout, Hamilton-Paterson's mordant humour offers some solace"
– Literary Review
"Not an easy read, but a timely one, which cuts through a lot of nonsense"
– Saga Magazine