The After-Normal: Brief, Alphabetical Essays on a Changing Planet

David Carlin and Nicole Walker. Rose Metal, $17.95 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-1-941628-17-1
In this winning collection of essays cued to letters in the alphabet, writers Carlin (The Abyssinian Contortionist) and Walker (Sustainability: A Love Story) exchange personal reflections on the state of the planet today. Finding environmental writing often “depressing, humorless, shaming, guilt-ridden,” the authors attempt a more readable alternative, and, for the most part, succeed. In “Albatross,” for example, Walker calls attention to a bird species that “has been dying for a long time” and is “extinct now in the Atlantic.” Carlin responds with “Atmosphere,” on the innate desire for community: “We need old towns with narrow streets lined with long tables where half the neighborhood can sit and drink red wine.” After he extols the virtues of civility in “Kindness,” she reflects on authenticity in “Krab,” named for the product “made out of Alaskan pollock and... mixed with fillers like wheat and egg whites.” Though perhaps thematically scattered, Carlin and Walker’s enjoyable literary exchange will charm readers and leave them wondering which topic will pop up next. (June)
Reviewed on : 04/04/2019
Genre: Nonfiction
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