The global outbreak of COVID-19 has affected every part of human lives, including the physical world. As we now navigate a post-pandemic era, it’s become even clearer that how we treat the natural world around us is paramount to its – and our own – survival.
Shocked Earth, by Dutch writer Saskia Goldschmidt, was written in 2018, way before phrases like ‘social distancing’ and ‘flatten the curve’ were a part of our daily lexicon. But now, with the publication of the English translation by Antoinette Fawcett, its subject matter is all the more urgent.
The novel follows the lives of the Koridon family: Femke, her mother Trijn and her grandfather, Zwier, who each have different ideas about how to run their family farm in Groningen province. Femke wants to switch to sustainable growing principles, but Trijn is “convinced that you need to scale up to compete in the world market”. Zwier is reluctant to abandon the traditional methods he has always known. With three generations all living under the same roof and working together, you might expect things to be a little fraught. But the Koridon family is rife with decades-old tension. And if all that familial drama isn’t enough, their home province is experiencing a series of earthquakes caused by a gas extraction operation near their farm.Lees verder