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Department of English, NTNU


Although a heavily contested theoretical space, the term “Anthropocene,” it seems, is here to stay, but theorizing about and understanding what it means in terms of the heterogeny of urban spaces and their representations is productive and potentially epoch-changing. Embedded in the top end of the trajectory of human influence on the world, the cities of Rohinton Mistry’s A Fine Balance (1995) and Joseph O’Neill’s The Dog (2014) allow for important investigations into the Anthropocene and its origins, into growth and its limits and costs, into the place and participation of cities in the Anthropocene, into questions of despair, and into reasons for hope. One of the assumptions here is that while capitalism is not the cause of the Anthropocene, it is certainly one of the symptoms of the accelerated Anthropocene, a symptom present and inescapable in both A Fine Balance and The Dog. This article argues that there is good cause for hope, since cities are, to date, the most efficient organizations with which we have yet come up. As such, cities may very well end up being the necessary natural step—fraught though they are with growing pains—toward sustainable living, toward balance, and toward changing the trajectory of doom on which we are currently headed.