Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Princeton University Press, 2015
Matsutake is the most valuable mushroom in the world—and a weed that grows in human-disturbed forests across the Northern Hemisphere. Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing’s account of these sought-after fungi offers insights into areas far beyond just mushrooms and addresses a crucial question: What manages to live in the ruins we have made? The Mushroom at the End of the World explores the unexpected corners of matsutake commerce, where we encounter Japanese gourmets, capitalist traders, Hmong jungle fighters, Finnish nature guides, and more. These companions lead us into fungal ecologies and forest histories to better understand the promise of cohabitation in a time of massive human devastation. The Mushroom at the End of the World delves into the relationship between capitalist destruction and collaborative survival within multispecies landscapes, the prerequisite for continuing life on earth.
Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing is professor of anthropology at the University of California, Santa Cruz.