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.
Published April 5, 2015