A hierarchical model of human societies’ relations with the natural world is at the root of today’s climate crisis; Narrating the Mesh contends that
narrative form is instrumental in countering this ideology. Drawing inspiration from Timothy
Morton’s concept of the “mesh” as a metaphor for the human-nonhuman relationship
in the face of climate change, Marco Caracciolo investigates how narratives in genres such as the novel and the short story employ formal devices to effectively channel the entanglement of human communities and nonhuman phenomena.
How can narrative undermine
linearity in order to reject notions of unlimited technological progress and economic growth?
What does it mean to say that nonhuman materials and processes—from contaminated landscapes to natural evolution—can become characters in stories? And, conversely, how can narrative trace the rising awareness of climate change in the thick of human characters’ mental activities?
These are some of the questions Narrating the Mesh addresses by engaging with
contemporary works by Ted Chiang, Emily St. John Mandel, Richard Powers, Jeff VanderMeer,
Jeanette Winterson, and many others. Entering interdisciplinary debates on narrative and the
Anthropocene, this book explores how stories can bridge the gap between scientific models of the
climate and the human-scale world of everyday experience, powerfully illustrating the complexity
of the ecological crisis at multiple levels.