Pacific Seascapes of the Anthropocene: Changing Human-Nature Relationships in Jeff Murray’s Melt
Keywords:Anthropocene, cultural seascapes, climate crisis, climate migration, climate refugees, Tropical Pacific, sea level rise, ecocriticism, cli-fi
Melt (2019), Jeff Murray’s debut novel is set in the near future of 2048. It depicts how the Anthropocene has wrought massive changes to seascapes, islandscapes, and landscapes, especially those of the tropical Pacific. The novel follows the plight of the people of Independence, a fictional low-lying Pacific island, who, due to rising sea levels and tropical storms, seek to migrate to New Zealand. However, migration is an option for rich countries, and the island community remains climate refugees on their ecologically crumbling island in a new world of mass climate migration. This paper focuses on cultural seascapes and landscapes of the Anthropocene, disruptions in human-nature relationships, and the possibility of human adaptation through climate migration. We read Melt with reference to the ecocritical theories of Cheryll Glotfelty, Lawrence Buell, and M. R. Mazumdar.
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