Daisy Hildyard discusses her new novel, Emergency (Astra House), with Sarah Moss.
“Emergency is an incisive kaleidoscope of past and present, nature and industry, stillness and pace, collapsing all into a tapestry of consciousness.” —Ayşegül Savaş, author of Walking on the Ceiling
This event will be streamed on our Crowdcast channel.
For readers of Rachel Cusk and Jenny Odell, a lyrical work of autofiction that explores the dissolution of boundaries between the self and our earth as we head towards ecological catastrophe.
Emergency is a novel about the interconnectedness of all life on Earth. Our narrator is at home during lockdown, where she ponders both past and present. She remembers her 1990s childhood in rural Yorkshire. She recalls a kestrel hunt, helping a farmer save a renegade bull, and days playing with her best friend, Clare. In her village, neighbors argue, keep secrets, care for one another, and try to hold down jobs. Fox cubs fight in the woods, plants compete for space, a quarry slowly falls apart, and we see a three-legged deer who likes cake. With painterly vision, Hildyard evokes the bygone, pre-internet world of her schooldays, whose irretrievability signals at something far greater than fleeting youth. With urgent intimacy, Emergency asks us to look at the essential; the people who help define us, animals, local and global ecologies, and to consider what the slow disappearance of Hildyard’s and our own native environment might mean for humanity at large.
A requiem for the English countryside, a story of remote violence, and a work of praise for a persistently lively world, Daisy Hildyard’s Emergency reinvents the pastoral novel for the climate change era.
About Daisy Hildyard and Sarah Moss
Daisy Hildyard holds a PhD in the history of science, and has previously published essays on the language of science, and on seventeenth-century mathematics. Her first novel, Hunters in the Snow, received the Somerset Maugham Award and a ‘5 under 35’ honorarium at the USA National Book Awards. Her essay The Second Body, a brilliantly lucid account of the dissolving boundaries between all life on earth, was published by Fitzcarraldo Editions in 2017. She lives with her family in North Yorkshire, where she was born.
Sarah Moss is the author of Summerwater, a best book of the year in The Guardian and The Times (London), and Ghost Wall, a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice and a best book of the year in Elle, the Financial Times, and other publications. Her previous books include the novels Cold Earth, Night Waking, Bodies of Light, and Signs for Lost Children, and the memoir Names for the Sea: Strangers in Iceland. She was educated at the University of Oxford and now teaches at University College Dublin.