This collection is about love, death, plants, and weird fiction. It takes its title from a Margaret Atwood story in which an adolescent girl seems to turn into a tree. It examines works by Doris Lessing, Jenny Hval, Anne Carson, Octavia Butler, Michelle Tea, Helen Phillips, Mark Fisher, Donna Haraway, and Jeff and Ann VanderMeer; it explores the erotics of compost, vampire-themed live-action roleplaying, intoxicated birds, medieval nuns, invasive spores, and solarpunk. The book asks: what kind of stories are being written that help us rethink our human-centric perspective of Earth? What kinds of narratives will make sense of the age of extinction?
Inspires...rangy feelings ... It’s a whirlwind tour of thought that develops into a philosophy of ecosystems fiction, and the notion that we might alter the centrality of the human in storytelling to find other, more profound conclusions ... Wilk’s first-person perspective is pervasive amid all the disparate references. The tangible sense of questing is relatable, but as a result, at times the book has the feel of something in progress ... I wish Wilk had gone a bit further ... It’s a book about the collision between Wilk as a writer and Wilk as a character.
Intellectually rigorous, unassumingly lyrical, obliquely intimate essays ... Wilk...has a deep and wide knowledge which brings forth many other examples—both past and contemporary, sci-fi and otherwise—of stories that evoke a weird disintegration of the plant-human distinction ... I would like to go on and on about this very fertile book, but TLDR: You should read it. You will want to reread it. Maybe you will want to kiss, lick, and cry over it; to eat it, break it down and re-form it into new ideas, new writing.
... argues compellingly that giving more space to the weird can help us reconsider our relationships to nature—and, even in the face of institutional inertia, exercise greater responsibility to each other.