We are living, they proclaim, in an age of ‘ecocide’, in which ‘the elemental backdrops to our existence’ – the ground, the sea, the air – are not only under threat but are actively being destroyed. Most prominent among its founders is Paul Kingsnorth, whose novel The Wake was longlisted for the Man Booker in 2014, striking a double blow for both challenging fiction and small presses everywhere.
I’m less convinced than the editors that there has been no artistic response to potential environmental collapse – John Christopher’s The Death of Grass was published in 1956, spawning countless imitators – nor that it’s a taboo subject, but that’s no reason not to applaud the effort. The journal’s seventh edition is a generous collection of prose, fiction and verse, and includes scholarly papers on Inuit culture and education; retellings of folk tales alongside warnings that we are losing the capacity to comprehend myth; reflections on lives lived in nature; a memorial to the passenger pigeon; art, cartoons and photography; and an absorbing essay on precisely what is meant by ‘fascism’, and how it might take root in the USA. And all of it is a pleasure to read: this is a project well worth pursuing.
DARK MOUNTAIN: Issue 7, Spring 2015 edited by Charlotte Du Cann, et al., £12.99 (hardback)
This book review was published in the July 2015 edition of Geographical Magazine