What is it that we want a novel to do? I think we want it to be about big ideas. I think we want it to ask deeply difficult human questions. I think we want it to speak to now and, I think we want – and maybe without really understanding why or how, at least on an initial read, for the very form to somehow also be telling the story. I really can’t begin to tell all the elegant ways in which Jo achieves this in Extinctions but she does it from page one.
Out the window there was nothing that could be called poetry, nothing wind-swept, billowing, tossing or turning in a streaky sky, nothing other than a taut blue sky and the low drone of air conditioners. In car parks across the city women pulled on soft cotton hats and cowered under brollies. Babies kicked and squalled, itchy with heat rash. Fridges groaned. Water dripped from old rubber seals. Milk soured. Fans turned. The grid strained.