The Destruction of Nationalism in Twenty-First Century Canadian Apocalyptic Fiction

Matthew Cormier
2020 American, British and Canadian Studies Journal  
This article argues that, since the turn of the twenty-first century, fiction in Canada – whether by English-Canadian, Québécois, or Indigenous writers – has seen a re-emergence in the apocalyptic genre. While apocalyptic fiction also gained critical attention during the twentieth century, this initial wave was tied to disenfranchised, marginalized figures, excluded as failures in their attempts to reach a promised land. As a result, fiction at that time – and perhaps equally so in the divided
more » ... nglish-Canadian and Québécois canons – was chiefly a (post)colonial, nationalist project. Yet, apocalyptic fiction in Canada since 2000 has drastically changed. 9/11, rapid technological advancements, a growing climate crisis, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission: these changes have all marked the fictions of Canada in terms of futurities. This article thus examines three novels – English-Canadian novelist Emily St. John Mandel's Station Eleven (2014), Indigenous writer Thomas King's The Back of the Turtle (2014), and Québécois author Nicolas Dickner's Apocalypse for Beginners (2010) – to discuss the ways in which they work to bring about the destruction of nationalism in Canada through the apocalyptic genre and affectivity to envision new futures.
doi:10.2478/abcsj-2020-0014 fatcat:rcasb6lpczdpxcyhnu3r6rd5nu