Review| “The Impossible Resurrection of Grief” by Octavia Cade

We learn to protect ourselves in the ugliest of ways

Octavia Cade, p. 21

Octavia Cade’s haunting novella, explores this question in a climate-ravaged world where “extinction is a familiar odour” (22). In less than a hundred pages, Impossible Resurrection of Grief, plunges us deep into “The Grief”, a mental syndrome spurred by climate trauma and cascading mass extinctions. We meet a cast of characters who differently navigate this affliction, which always terminates in self-destruction. Some conjure illusions of a world that is flourishing rather than wilting, of long-disappeared species tenuously remade by the means of technological sorcery. Others plummet into despair, fashioning hideous simulacra of the extinct using capitalist debris, like jellyfish spun from plastics. By the story’s end, the reader is marooned on an island of tomorrow’s turbulent shores, forced to confront their own complicity and numbness with the climate disaster that is slowly unfolding around us. The author takes care to remind us that the capacity for silence, the capacity to be a passive bystander to climate change, is a marker of privilege, as indigenous communities and people living in the Global South are already living in a climate dystopia.

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