Thursday, May 02, 2013

Planetary writing

“Submergence” is an attempt at what I would call planetary writing, which is not the same as nature writing, it’s more political, more discarnate. Somalia here is scorched and hard, but it is also mutable and passing, and the same is true for the pain and the beliefs in the novel. So there is on the surface a narrative where human lives are played out and they matter so very much and are insignificant all at once. Whereas the ocean is confounding in another way, you have no breath in it, no light, and consequently no imaginable human life, yet it is immutable, and when you stack it up you find it is nearly all of the living space on the planet. What I wanted to do was to alter the reader’s perspective of Earth, to show that dirt is precious but seawater dominates, to step out on a field is rare while to float and scintillate with bioluminescence is common.
-- J.M.Ledgard talking to Philip Gourevitch

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