Dark ecology and the representation of canids in Deon Meyer’s Fever

Keywords: Dark Ecology, Deon Meyer, dogs in literature, ecocriticism, Fever, object-oriented ontology, speculative fiction, Timothy Morton


Deon Meyer’s post-apocalyptic novel, Fever, opens with Nico Storm, the narrator, and his father being attacked by dogs. Nico is only thirteen years old, but is forced to shoot the dogs to rescue his father. This incident sets the scene for the rest of the novel. It characterises Nico and his father and their relationship. It also informs the reader about the world in which the novel is set. Fever opens a few months after ninety-five percent of the world’s population died as the result of a mysterious virus—one engineered in an attempt to redress ecological imbalances. In this article, the representation of dogs and other canids in Fever is used as a departure point to bring the worldviews of the various characters into dialogue with Timothy Morton’s Dark Ecology. It is argued that the different worldviews (and the place accorded to canids in each) have political and ecological implications. Most of the worldviews can be understood in terms of what Morton calls the “agrilogistic loop” because they are based on the assumption that humans can and should manipulate the nonhuman. Two characters’ view of canids are, however, closer to what Morton terms “ecognosis”, because they acknowledge humans’ (and canids’) entanglement with the rest of nature. ment with the rest of nature.

Author Biography

Bibi Burger, University of Pretoria, Pretoria

Bibi Burger is a lecturer in the Afrikaans Department at the University of Pretoria.


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