John Lanchester’s new novel The Wall imagines Britain after “The Change”. Following a dramatic shift in temperature and sea levels, the UK has barricaded off what remains of the coastline; in Lanchester’s dystopia, there aren’t any beaches left. Young citizens bear no responsibility for any of this, but they’re the ones who must guard the wall and violently repel increasingly desperate migrants, known as “The Others”. If they fail, the young are themselves cast out to sea as punishment. Not surprisingly, they’re pretty unhappy about their lot. “None of us can talk to our parents,” says Kavanagh, the novel’s protagonist. “It’s guilt: mass guilt, generational guilt. The olds feel they irretrievably f*cked up the world, then allowed us to be born into it. You know what? It’s true. That’s exactly what they did. They know it, we know it. Everybody knows it.” It’s a sentiment shared no doubt by the schoolchildren protesting around the world on Friday to demand far more decisive action on ...

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