The Mushroom at the End of the World

On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins

The Mushroom at the End of the World (2017, Princeton University Press)

paperback, 352 pages

Published Sept. 19, 2017 by Princeton University Press.


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5 stars (3 reviews)

"A tale of diversity within our damaged landscapes, The Mushroom at the End of the World follows one of the strangest commodity chains of our times to explore the unexpected corners of capitalism. Here, we witness the varied and peculiar worlds of matsutake commerce: the worlds of Japanese gourmets, capitalist traders, Hmong jungle fighters, industrial forests, Yi Chinese goat herders, Finnish nature guides, and more. These companions also lead us into fungal ecologies and forest histories to better understand the promise of cohabitation in a time of massive human destruction,"

4 editions

Review of 'The mushroom at the end of the world' on 'GoodReads'

5 stars

An absolutely exquisite book in every way.Conceptually, it is challenging and graceful, drawing from ecological research, anthropological exploration, philosophy, science fiction and economics to form a story that is centred on the matsutake mushroom. The unusual status of matsutake as an edible mushroom that operates outside of traditional capitalist economics, and simultaneously is deeply embedded in these economics, is fascinating, and written with flair and passion. The mushroom becomes a symbol for a philosophy about ways of living in commune with our surrounding environment, and with one another. Collaboration is at the centre of the theory, whether that is collaboration between plants and fungi, between people and forests, or between people and people.Physically, it is a wonderful object, nicely presented and punctuated with engaging photographs from Tsing's travels.
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