Everything Feels Like the End of the World by Else Fitzgerald

Else Fitzgerald, I imagine, eats rocks. These stories are tough as nails. They leave a sinking feeling in your gut as you watch lives unravel.

Everything Feels Like the End of the World spews out stories of fear and inability, as characters are unable – or in some cases unwilling – to stand up against the issues of climate change. While these stories do confront the culpability of large multinational corporations, fault is also laid at the feet of the reader. Many of the protagonists feel as if they are intentional proxies for the reader, observers of their own lives and the lives of others as it all disintegrates. In Fitzgerald’s stories, humanity is frozen in horror, as the frothing wave of annihilation hangs above us and there is little to be done. Bringing the stories to the point of no return is effective, and Fitzgerald essentially asks the reader to mourn a future they are yet to experience and the losses to come. I cannot stress enough that these stories are, in a general sense, not happy ones.

Fitzgerald exposes the dark roots of Australia’s current climate hypocrisy through the eyes of mothers who question their decision to bring children into the world, protestors facing violence and future environmental activists who blend technology and ecology with dire consequences. However, Fitzgerald’s analysis can also feel clumsy, as some of the stories do not consider the nuances of race and class when discussing our individual contributions to the climate crisis. What Fitzgerald is effective at conveying, however, is the small, systematic ways we propel the momentum of this calamity: our tiny lives stacked on top of one another become the unfathomable systems that have created our climate crisis. This unfolds across the stories in a downpour, building into a monsoon of quiet rage. And while some readers might desire stories of positive progress, I would recommend going into this collection braced for instances of love and hope that exist in permanent confluence with despair.

Emma Clarke is from Readings St Kilda

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Everything Feels Like the End of the World

Everything Feels Like the End of the World

Else Fitzgerald

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