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Emergency: Daisy Hildyard

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I had this book noted down as one to look out for. The main attraction for me was the setting – rural Yorkshire in the nineties. Hello! I was there!

Emergency by Daisy Hildyard | Goodreads Emergency by Daisy Hildyard | Goodreads

If first responders moved with the meandering pointlessness of this novel, we would have a true emergency on our hands. Now, I do not mind a slow, meandering, and meaningful novel, BUT this is beyond the pale. and this is a theme that is integral to Emergency, which also is a pastoral novel prompted by Covid and for the era of global warming.One night on the news I saw a story about floods in Zhengzhou, China, in which there was footage of a man fishing in a motorway underpass. He stood on the emptied carriageway in shorts and flipflops, pulling his net from the muddied water that had crept up where the road dipped.

Emergency - Astra Publishing House Emergency - Astra Publishing House

But Hildyard is also fascinated by interconnectedness and this shines through in the narrative. This is a topic that occurs a lot in the writing of one of my favourite authors, Richard Powers. This is why I opened my review with a particular quote from the book which put me in mind of “Entangled Life” by Merlin Sheldrake. Sheldrake’s book is a non-fiction exploration of the interconnected world of fungi. There is something energetic in Emergency, something mystical about the human and non-human really meeting. . . Emergency reminds us, through its young protagonist, that we often miss so much of the world, so much of reality." Past and present, nature and humanity, life and death intermix, ebbing and flowing in a stream of prose that carries the reader on an exhilarating and frequently provocative and violent ride.’A quiet, complicated hymn to nature . . . [Emergency] is a novel with an elastic strangeness, gliding seamlessly between the familiar and the surreal . . . In the wake of the biggest natural melodrama of recent times, Emergency is a thoughtful, poised reflection on how much change we humans, among the animals, can ever bring to bear."

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