Emergency: A Pastoral Novel by Daisy Hildyard
From Astra House:
For readers of Rachel Cusk and Jenny Odell, a lyrical work of autofiction that explores the dissolution of boundaries between the self and our earth as we head towards ecological catastrophe.
“Emergency is an incisive kaleidoscope of past and present, nature and industry, stillness and pace, collapsing all into a tapestry of consciousness.”
—Ayşegül Savaş, author of Walking on the Ceiling
Emergency is a novel about the interconnectedness of all life on Earth. Our narrator is at home during lockdown, where she ponders both past and present. She remembers her 1990s childhood in rural Yorkshire. She recalls a kestrel hunt, helping a farmer save a renegade bull, and days playing with her best friend, Clare. In her village, neighbors argue, keep secrets, care for one another, and try to hold down jobs. Fox cubs fight in the woods, plants compete for space, a quarry slowly falls apart, and we see a three-legged deer who likes cake. With painterly vision, Hildyard evokes the bygone, pre-internet world of her schooldays, whose irretrievability signals at something far greater than fleeting youth. With urgent intimacy, Emergency asks us to look at the essential; the people who help define us, animals, local and global ecologies, and to consider what the slow disappearance of Hildyard’s and our own native environment might mean for humanity at large.
A requiem for the English countryside, a story of remote violence, and a work of praise for a persistently lively world, Daisy Hildyard’s Emergency reinvents the pastoral novel for the climate change era.