Loss Soup and Other Stories
by Nick Hunt
ISBN 9781896559827 / 148 pages / 6.14 x 9.21 in
A Greenbank Book
A journalist is invited to the fabled Dinner of Loss to drink a viscous soup made of lost and extinct things. In the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a nihilistic sea captain becalms himself on a plastic sea, while in an English fishing village a senile Blackbeard reminisces about his bloodthirsty glory days. The failed conquistador Cabeza de Vaca sheds his personality on the swampy coasts of the New World, and in a cabin in the woods a couple are haunted by the ghosts of Homo erectus, Neanderthals and other extinct hominids. Elsewhere, a legendary beast is dragged from a Welsh mountain lake…
The fourteen stories in Nick Hunt’s debut collection of short fiction travel from sixteenth-century Mexico to a post-collapse near future, from a visionary supermarket to life on other planets. All of them revolve around different forms of loss. By turns blackly funny, disquieting and fantastical, Loss Soup and Other Stories is a journey through the Anthropocene, climate chaos and the Sixth Extinction to the strange new worlds that might lie beyond.
Nick Hunt’s short stories and essays have been published in Dark Mountain since 2010. As a travel writer, his books include Walking the Woods and the Water, telling the story of an eight-month walk from the Hook of Holland to Istanbul; Where the Wild Winds Are, which explores how Europe’s named winds affect landscapes, people and cultures; and most recently Outlandish, describing four walks in Europe’s ‘unlikely landscapes’. He was a finalist for the Stanford Dolman Travel Award in 2015 and 2018. He is also the author of The Parakeeting of London, a work of gonzo ornithology, and has written for The Guardian, The Economist, New Internationalist, Emergence, Resurgence & Ecologist, Caught By the River, Geographical and other publications. He works as an editor and co-director of the Dark Mountain Project, performs as a storyteller and currently lives in Bristol, in the south-west of England.
The Dark Mountain Project is a network of writers, artists and thinkers whose work attempts an honest response to the crises of our time: climate breakdown; social and political unravelling; the death of the myths of endless growth and human exceptionalism; ecocide and mass extinction. The project was founded in 2009 with the publication of Uncivilisation, a literary manifesto which called for a new kind of ‘uncivilised’ writing and artwork that tells new stories for an age of endings. Each year they have published two anthologies for subscribers, as well as offering a variety of workshops and live events.
From its origins in the United Kingdom the project has grown internationally, with contributors and subscribers from the United States to New Zealand, India to South Africa, Canada to Ghana, Sweden to Australia.
Sumeru is pleased to publish books by Dark Mountain authors as part of our secular Greenbank Books imprint. Loss Soup and Other Stories, by Nick Hunt, and After Ithaca, by Charlotte Du Cann, are the first two single-author books from the Dark Mountain Project.
What people are saying
“With their eerie dream logic, Nick Hunt’s stories get closer to the heart of what it is to live in a time of endings than a forest of dystopian novels. They hold a dark mirror to our predicament, allowing us to approach it without being turned to stone.” – Dougald Hine, Dark Mountain co-founder
"Nick Hunt's short stories are two increasingly rare things – original, and uncategorisable. Once read, they are not forgotten." – Paul Kingsnorth, author of The Wake
"Loss Soup is a heady concoction of speculative fiction, ecological fables, and historical stories with the scope of novels. If a computer writing programme were able to combine Borges with Calvino, it might come up with something like this book. Yet it would miss the humanity, the wit and the moral imagination that blaze forth from Nick Hunt’s strange tales of the Anthropocene." – Gregory Norminton, author of The Devil’s Highway
"Edgy, unsettling, fearlessly interrogative, brilliantly written and ultimately hopeful. Nick Hunt probes deep into the reasons for our nagging sense of bereavement. Most of us don’t even know what we’ve lost. Until we do, we can’t start the business of finding. Hunt’s important collection helps us to start the search for the crucial missing parts of our psyches, our societies and our ideas." – Charles Foster, author of Being a Beast and Being a Human
"Nick Hunt has the gift of reconnecting his readers to the mood of timeless storytellers, and in so doing, activates archetypal principles that can bring direction, meaning and life in reflecting on our times." – Alastair McIntosh, author of Soil and Soul and Poacher’s Pilgrimage.
"With satirical flourish, Nick Hunt exposes the follies of humankind in bizarre realms that have gone from wild to bewildering. Loss Soup is an illuminating read—in a shocking sort of way." – Michael Buckley, editor for This Fragile Planet: His Holiness the Dalai Lama on Environment.