Sara RichMar 25, 2023
They are the things we step on without noticing and the largest organisms on Earth. They are symbols of inexplicable growth and excruciating misery. They are grouped with plants, but they behave more like animals. In their inscrutability, mushrooms are wondrous organisms.
Mushroom (Bloomsbury, 2023) by Dr. Sara Rich explores the ordinary object of mushroom, one whose encounters with humans are usually limited to a couple of species prepackaged at the grocery store. This book presents these objects as the firmament for life as we know it, enablers of mystical traditions, menders of minds lost to depression. But it acknowledges, too, that this firmament only exists because of death and rot.
Rummaging through philosophical, literary, medical, ecological, and anthropological texts only serves to confirm what the average forager already knows: that mushrooms are to be regarded with a reverence deserving of only the most powerful entities: those who create and destroy, and thrive on both.
Dr. Sara Rich has also been interviewed on the New Books Network about her previous book Shipwreck Hauntography, see that episode here.
This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose doctoral work focused on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars.