Tuesday 20 April 2021
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.theguardian - 2 month ago

Alexandria by Paul Kingsnorth review – the completion of the Buckmaster trilogy

Set a millennium from now, this ambitious diatribe against human irresponsibility becomes a polemic rather than a novelWe are 900 years in the future. The catastrophe that ended human civilisation has become its own legend. Somewhere in East Anglia, a tribe of hunter-gatherers take their living from what the rising waters have left of the land. Known simply as the Order, they exist in a state of thrall to the Earth-deity they call the Lady. Once a thriving community, their numbers are dwindling. Their matriarch blames the stalkers, elusive beings that haunt the woods close to the settlement. These stalkers, she warns them, are the servants of Wayland, the demon who seeks to imprison their souls in the city they call Alexandria. The story progresses in short chapters told from alternating points of view. Interspersed with these personal accounts we get a series of “cantos”, recounting the history of the Order and the ascent of Wayland, who is not in fact a demon but a pioneer in post-humanism. Wayland’s doctrines preach salvation through the abandonment of the physical self and transmigration to a digital existence within a super-collective hivemind, Alexandria.The steady decline in their numbers has aroused in the remaining settlers a simmering disquiet. When the wife of one elder begins a passionate affair with the son of another, the resulting tension threatens to split the community apart. Meanwhile, the Order’s seer Yrvidian has prophesied that the world as they know it is soon to end: when swans return to the Earth, Alexandria will fall. Continue reading...


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