Aaron Weinacht is Professor of History at the University of Montana Western. His research interests include Russian Nihilism and Philosophy of History. His true vocation involves building custom furniture and working on the 15 acres he hopes will someday be a homestead.
Contemporary sensibilities tend to prefer the nihilist abyss to such salvation, even as we pathetically pursue the latest "cure" for that emptiness—be that radical politics, surgical revisions to our anatomy, or compassionate medical assistance in dying. It looks patronizingly at best and with hostility at worst, at the idea that our modern despair should prompt some deep rethinking.
Vodolazkin's novels do for Time what Wendell Berry does for Space: We can't just live where we are, we have to live when we are, too. So thanks to Vodolazkin for the timely reminder. And requiescat in pace, Jack: thanks for doing just that.
My least-favorite bumper sticker of all time reads, "If you're not outraged you're not paying attention." As a remedy for this sort of dopamine-fueled attitude, the author suggests that we refuse to bow to the media outrage machine.
A short review cannot do justice to the range of reasons visitors to the Porch should read Kingsnorth’s three novels, so I’ll begin simply by saying: Read them. These are thought-provoking, challenging, and linguistically creative novels.
Thinking about ecology from a national perspective, my house with standard R-19 walls and R40 roof, standard windows, and so on, is a “problem.” From a local perspective, though, there’s a solution that’s far simpler than the ones proposed by national standards for green building: Get up from my library chair and throw another log in the wood stove.