For An Yu, the Living Are More Adrift Than the Ghosts

For An Yu, the Living Are More Adrift Than the Ghosts

The New York Times-Books·2022-12-25 06:11


Not much is known about the inner life of mushrooms, but we can guess at the presence of a sort of subterranean sociality from the extensive networks of underground filaments that link individual organisms to a vast community of plants, tree roots and other fungi. Although the mushroom’s cap and stalk are its most obvious features, they are only the visible signs of a deeper life — the way that the tip of an iceberg hints at the bulk obscured below, the white and black keys of the piano represent the hidden strings full of unstructured, potential sound. Or the way that certain novels give the impression of being animated by a force that has little to do with their ordered combination of words. Instead these narratives seem to orbit their own expression: They exist beyond language, above it, or maybe even below it — who could say of something as elusive as story precisely how or where it eludes?


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