This rigorous externality to the world she investigates means that her manner never tips in the stream of life. She doesn’t grieve for or lust after anything. She doesn’t do transcendence and has no drum to bang. Neither fear nor excitement, nor desire, nor loathing play their part. The method is consistently and carefully prosaic; one learns things about chalk and ice, maps and plants. There is no over-precise attention to the making of sentences. It is an almost scientific description of a science.
Notes from Deep Time sidesteps the maundering and finger-wagging that comes with Anthropocene thinking, and shows us how much sheer intellectual and poetical entertainment there is to be had in the idea. And what does the Anthropocene idea do, after all, but put humans back at the centre of the world? As Gordon cannily observes, “at some level we can’t help finding that attractive – even if the price for that return is environmental disaster.”