Rosa Lyster

Rosa Lyster is researching a book about the global water crisis with the support of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

At the V&A: Fabergé in London

Rosa Lyster, 27 January 2022

The eggs are shorthand for hysterical opulence, an easy target, so that even someone as patrician as Nabokov, from his deckchair on the eastern shore of Lake Geneva, could dismiss them as grotesque. They are toys that children can’t play with, objects of pure whimsy that must be handled with utter seriousness, embarrassingly over-the-top trifles made for unembarrassable people.

Diary: Louisiana Underwater

Rosa Lyster, 7 October 2021

When people in Louisiana say that a city will disappear, they don’t just mean that it will be taken over by industry, or abandoned after one too many hurricanes or floods. They mean that it will actually sink into the Gulf of Mexico. Erosion is eating away at the coast at a rate of an acre every hundred minutes, dramatically increasing the state’s vulnerability to hurricane storm surges.

Diary: Along the Water

Rosa Lyster, 6 May 2021

The Nile as it arrives in Egypt has two main tributaries, which converge near Khartoum: the White Nile, rising in Lake Victoria, and the Blue Nile, rising in Lake Tana in Ethiopia. Exact figures are disputed, but almost everyone agrees that at least 80 per cent of the river’s water originates in the Ethiopian highlands. An academic who spent his career studying the hydropolitics of the Nile Basin until he was forced to leave Egypt told me I had to understand the psychological dimension to the country’s water issue. What I had to understand about Egypt and water was that Egypt didn’t have any. It all came from somewhere else, which meant that the upstream countries could, in theory, turn off the tap. People who grow up in the desert tend to think of rain as a big deal. Even in the cities, they celebrate a downpour when it happens. Farmers elsewhere look to the sky and ask for water, he said, but in Egypt they look to Ethiopia. While I was there I heard over and over again that Egyptians think of the Nile as their water, stored in other people’s countries.

Staying Alive: ‘The New Wilderness’

Rosa Lyster, 5 November 2020

Recently,​ reindeer herders in the Russian Arctic discovered the perfectly preserved body of an Ice Age cave bear surging out of the Siberian permafrost. Cave bear skeletons have been unearthed before, but this was the first carcass to be found with soft tissue and internal organs still intact. The bear still has all its teeth, its fur, its evil-looking nose, perfectly designed for snuffling...

From The Blog
1 July 2020

Here was this bird, that should be in the jungle learning to emulate the sound of gibbons and rushing water, but was instead imitating Skype ringtones, trapped in a dreadful situation made still more wretched by the fact that its owner was also trapped, with nothing to look forward to for the duration of the lockdown except more Skype calls and getting whistled at by her parrot.

From The Blog
5 May 2020

For those of us who get a kick out of spying on other people’s bookshelves, the last few weeks have offered an embarrassment of riches. Whole Twitter accounts have been set up for the sole purpose of scrutinising the titles that famous people choose to display in the background during their televised Skype calls. The point of the game is not to find out the books people are reading, but the books they want to be seen to be reading. Some people are more sporting than others, acknowledging the rules of the game and knowingly playing along.

Diary: Where water used to be

Rosa Lyster, 2 April 2020

On​ the second to last day of last year, I got on a flight to Mexico City. Four hours in, we were told we needed to make an emergency landing in Houston. The captain had noticed an oil leak shortly after we left New York. The air hostess made her announcement first in English, then in Spanish, and told us that we shouldn’t be alarmed if we saw a lot of fire engines on the runway as we...

Read anywhere with the London Review of Books app, available now from the App Store for Apple devices, Google Play for Android devices and Amazon for your Kindle Fire.

Sign up to our newsletter

For highlights from the latest issue, our archive and the blog, as well as news, events and exclusive promotions.

Newsletter Preferences