Lucina Schell at The Quarterly Conversation:
The human-precipitated Anthropocene promises unprecedented loss: of beauty and wildness in the natural sphere, and the comforts of convenient consumption in the domestic sphere—yet outside of science fiction, this has yet to register in our literature. In The Great Derangement, Amitav Ghosh argues that the blame should be put on the very structure of the novel, which employs depictions of mundane reality to conceal a scaffold of more remarkable plot points, and which developed at a time when nature was viewed as a bucolic canvas upon which human individuals acted rather than a system of which we are part. The best way to think about the Anthropocene may be through images, Ghosh suggests—film and television already seem to be having a more successful time. Danish writer Josefine Klougart’s cinematic experimental novel, Of Darkness, would seem to be the sort of novel Ghosh would appreciate: it moves in and out of images, dissolving the false border between human beings and nature in a series of interlocked vignettes that add up to a metonym for the large-scale loss implied by climate change.
Readers who prefer plot-driven novels will not be satisfied. A cohesive narrative never emerges from the various sections that retrace recurring scenes in forms as diverse as flash prose, lineated prose, Sapphic fragments, and even a screenplay. (Personally, I feared they might draw together by the end, and was relieved when they did not.) Tellingly, the screenplay section spends much more time describing the setting and directing the shots than on dialogue between its two characters, WOMAN and MAN.