Pascale M. Manning
Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction, 02 Dec. 2022, 18 pp.
Publication year: 2022

This essay argues that the Cherokee-Greek author Thomas King writes a realism for the Anthropocene avant la lettre, aiming to illuminate how his fiction – including Green Grass, Running Water (1993) and Truth and Bright Water (1999) – becomes even more significant when we perceive how his approach, from the situations he explores to his narrative modes, acknowledges states of dislocation, historical entanglement, and socio-material interconnection as the condition of reality in our catastrophic present, thereby educating the reader into a systems thinking that recognizes the indivisibility of the projects of decolonization and environmental justice. In contextualizing the realities of a present in which the interests of capital and empire and their discursive and institutional handmaidens have been forcibly made paramount within Indigenous frameworks and experiences – bleeding into Indigenous cosmologies, storytelling practices, lifeways, and histories, as well as means of resistance and survivance – King achieves in his fiction a mode of realism with the capacity to teach his readers how to scale their imaginations to climates of crisis, illuminating what Indigenous literatures can and should mean as we strive to inhabit such climates in ways conducive to communal survival.

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