I recently finished reading Starling, a new novel by Sarah Jane Butler. I’m no reviewer of books and never feel comfortable giving books a rating, but I wanted to promote a book from a fellow Sussex Weald-resident. I really enjoyed the book, which I read while on holiday in a village much like the one portrayed in the book, which helped bring the book to life.
While I’m not necessarily sold on all the books that would come under the moniker of ‘eco-fiction’, I like the grounding of ecosystems in this kind of fiction, and how much more you can do with that.
That said, Zoe Gilbert (who I recorded a podcast with recently) uses fantasy and folklore to take real life ecosystems and historic landscapes to all kinds of special places (I told you I’m not a literature reviewer) in Mischief Acts.
Another important thing that this kind of fiction can do is put social and ecological issues firmly alongside one another – something that general nature writing often avoids. Starling explores social and ecological challenges, following an abandoned young woman (Starling) on her journey in trying to find work and settle into a new community. As you can imagine, it’s not straightforward for her. I’m keen not to attempt a write-up of the story here, you should read it for yourself if it interests you.
You can buy the book in hard back or digital at the moment, with more information available on Sarah’s website.
Thanks for reading.
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