Allegra Hyde Believes We Are a Product of the Stories We Tell Ourselves
Jean Marc Ah-Sen interviews Allegra Hyde about her novel ‘Eleutheria,’ the concept of climate fiction, and reckoning with the patterns of the past.
Jean Marc Ah-Sen: Your work has been associated with the emerging genre of cli-fi. Thinking about books like Anthony Burgess’s and J. G. Ballard’s , which also depict environmental disaster, I’m curious about whether you view such dystopian narratives as being distinct from climate fiction.
Los Angeles Times
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JMA: Was it exciting to devise new thematic perimeters andhelp evolve the imagery and language of a burgeoning genre? Or did you feel beholden to honor the elements of previous cli-fi offerings?
JMA: is a hybrid novel: You’ve paired the queer bildungsroman and the campus satire with hard-bitten activist fiction. Did putting these components into proximity stimulate new narrative connections?
JMA: Can you talk about the novel as a site of resistance and its potential for effecting social change? Willa Marks obsesses over a manual called —were there activist texts whose mechanics you sought to lay bare for a reader with these excerpted passages?
EleutheriaEarthforce! An Earth Warrior’s Guide to Strategy The End of Protest: A New Playbook for RevolutionEleutheria
Living the Solution Living the Solution
JMA: You alternate chapters with a history of the Bahamian island of Eleuthera, ensuring that readers are aware of the connection between the colonialist project and climate change. What was the reasoning behind these sections?
JMA: The novel advances various culprits for the state of its world: the profligacy of the ultrarich, activists who may be too busy chasing their tails to address macro-level socioeconomic problems. How can a collectivist solution forgo deadlock mired in compromise?
JMA: shows how politics can descend into opportunistic factionalism, with “Green Republicans” featuring prominently—billionaires on the right who embrace climate science by lining their pockets with smog stock futures and geoengineering projects. Were you signaling the futility of party politics in America?
JMA: Willa makes a pilgrimage to a revolutionary enclave championing eco-utopian ideas. To join its ranks, one must abandon the “ethical pollutants” of romantic love. Do you think ascetic principles must inform the fight against climate change?
JMA: might be seen as a portrayal of the state of leftist politics. Sylvia Gill and Willa are lovers who represent the class divide between corporate-minded intellectualism and downshifting social philosophies. Why was it important for you to end the book by reconciling these ideals?
JMA: You’ve been public about your belief that we have the strategies to fight climate change but that “the psychosis of denial” is holding us back. What will it take to break this denialism down and to convince us of our imminent mortality?
JMA: You write about the world we are leaving behind for future generations. As a creative writing professor, what do you make of the publishing landscape that your students will inherit?
JMA: You’ve finished a new story collection. Will it continue your engagement with pressing social issues?
The Last CatastropheThe Last Catastrophe
Jean Marc Ah-Sen is the author of Grand Menteur, In the Beggarly Style of Imitation, and a participant in the collaborative omnibus novel Disintegration in Four Parts. He lives in Toronto.
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