Death by Landscape

by Elvia Wilk

List Price: $16.95
Paperback | | ISBN 9781593767150

On Sale 07/19/2022

From the acclaimed author of the novel Oval comes a book of “fan-nonfiction” about living and writing in the age of extinction

In this constellation of essays, Elvia Wilk asks what kinds of stories will help us rethink our human perspective toward Earth. The book begins as an exploration of the role of narrative today and becomes a deep interrogation of the writing process and the self. 

Wilk examines creative works across time and genre in order to break down binaries between dystopia and utopia, real and imagined, self and world. She makes connections between works by such wide-ranging writers as Mark Fisher, Karen Russell, Han Kang, Doris Lessing, Jenny Hval, Anne Carson, Octavia Butler, Michelle Tea, Helen Phillips, Jonathan Lethem, Kathe Koja, Jeff and Ann VanderMeer, and Hildegard von Bingen. 

What happens when research becomes fandom or even obsession, when the observer breaks through the glass? Through the eye of the fan, this collection delves into literal and literary world-building projects— medieval monasteries, solarpunk futures, vampire role-plays, environments devoid of humans—bridging the micro and the macro and revealing how our relationship to narrative shapes our relationships to the natural world and to one another.

 

Praise for Death by Landscape

“Erotics of compost, vampires, medieval nuns, and solarpunk. Wilk’s ‘fan nonfiction,’ examines the works of Anne Carson, Octavia Butler, Michelle Tea, and more to probe the lines and shapes of ‘weird fiction’ in the face of extinction and all its urgency and anxieties. At the heart of it are questions of how to tell stories that center the Earth as opposed to humans, that help us grapple with the end of the world, and that help us see and be with the dark of it all.” —Snigdha Koirala, Lit Hub, One of the Most Anticipated Books of the Year

“Elvia Wilk has written a guidebook and a philosophy for living in a precarious world, in essays that are searching and funny, self-assured and unguarded all at once. With each chapter Wilk directs her telescopic focus on plants and rot, mysticism and black holes, female embodiment and trauma, weaving together seemingly disparate topics with an intelligence that recalls the best of Mark Fisher and Wayne Koestenbaum. Reading Death by Landscape, I feel terrified and exalted, expanded, in awe.” —Madeleine Watts, author of The Inland Sea

“Elvia Wilk’s learned and bracing essays distribute the mind out beyond the stubborn habits and enclosures of our ‘humanities’—out past hack plots or boundaries assigned to gender or species—where it can expand into subsoil or outer space or corpuscle in narratives weird enough to reflect another human/non-human social life.” —Keller Easterling, author of Medium Design and Extrastatecraft

“Elvia Wilk reports on psychic borders, the lines drawn between earth and earthling, plant and steward, healthy and sick. She finds false binaries we hadn’t even thought to count and asks the human to find its humanity, gently but without wavering. Brilliant and swift, as she always is.” —Sasha Frere-Jones, musician and writer

“Wilk reads the world like an insect reads a garden; her approach is sensory and kaleidoscopic, buzzing beyond manicured surfaces to get at the fertile, loamy rot beneath everything from black holes and science fiction dystopias to martyred saints and larpers. Beautifully brainy, bug-eyed, and weird.” —Claire L. Evans, author of Broad Band

“With evocative clarity and intuitive rigor, Elvia Wilk’s Death by Landscape guides us through a troubled terrain criss-crossed by that most uncanny of entities, ‘nature.’ This is writing that uniquely extends the tradition of speculative nonfiction, delineating a new constellation of culture and climate that ultimately points to the nebulous horizon of human being itself.” —Eugene Thacker, author of In the Dust of This Planet and Infinite Resignation

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