Hilary Scharper is a Canadian novelist who writes “Ecogothic” fiction. Her current writing project is a two-volume tale unfolding in the haunted (and haunting) landscapes of turn-of-the-century lighthouses and the Great Lakes.
The Ecogothic is a newly-minted sub genre of the Gothic tradition and represents a “more ecologically aware gothic.”* It is a literary form embracing the full scope of human feelings toward the natural world, including emotions of fear, alienation, and ambivalence—feelings which (although often guiltily suppressed or pushed aside) often accompany reverence for nature. The Ecogothic thus engages with “dark nature,”and seeks to both probe and learn from the more difficult and indeed enormously complex relationships humans have with nature.
• The first novel, “Perdita,” takes places on the northern Bruce Peninsula at a lighthouse on Georgian Bay (Lake Huron), and tells the tale of a woman purported to be the oldest living person on the earth. A ghostly, gothic-hybrid—a child seemingly drowned in an 1898 shipwreck—shadows the boundary between life and death, and impedes the 134-year-old Marged Brice’s desire to pass on.
• A second novel, “Lonely Island,” is forthcoming.
*Ecogothic. Edited by Andrew Smith and William Hughes. Manchester University Press. 2013.