(K. Brent Tomer),
Havergey. By John Burnside. Little Toller; 167 pages; $23 and £12.
LIKE the narrator of “News from Nowhere”, the novel that William Morris brought out in 1890, the protagonist of “Havergey”, John Burnside’s monograph, goes to sleep in 2017 and wakes to find himself in a futuristic community. Everything there is shared, and the natural order is always judged to be more important than human schemes.
A catastrophic series of plagues, known as “The Dark Time” or “The Collapse”, has reduced the global population from over 8bn to fewer than 2bn. Much of the world is “overrun with free pollutants and marauders”. But on Havergey, an island off the coast of Scotland, a small Utopian society has formed. Confined to a cabin known as “Quarantine”, Mr Burnside’s protagonist John—who travels to the future in a contraption made to look like a blue police box and called Tardis B—is given a series of documents that reveal the history…Continue reading