The Nerves and Their Endings

essays on crisis and response

Jessica Gaitán Johannesson author


Publisher:Scribe Publications

Published:11th Aug '22


Available for immediate dispatch.

The Nerves and Their Endings cover

The body as a measuring tool for planetary harm. A nervous system under increasing stress.

In this urgent collection that moves from the personal to the political and back again, writer, activist, and migrant Jessica Gaitán Johannesson explores how we respond to crises.

She draws parallels between an eating disorder and environmental neurosis, examines the perils of an activist movement built on non-parenthood, dissects the privilege of how we talk about hope, and more.

The synapses that spark between these essays connect essential narratives of response and responsibility, community and choice, belonging and bodies. They carry vital signals.

‘The climate crisis is nerve-racking … Jessica Gaitán Johannesson’s collection of essays offers an expansive constellation of responses … Her writing resists empty answers, striving instead for ethical rigour and nuance. This is a poetic, bodily thinking. Short, fragmented lyric poems appear between each essay, intensifying and expanding the connections … It’s the kind of writing that is as bracing as it is sobering.’

-- Andy Jackson * The Saturday Paper *

The Nerves and Their Endings is a beautifully written, original collection of essays that explores identity, place, home, and hope. These essays ask how we might not only live in a time of climate collapse, but how we might work towards a better future also — one of community, shared understanding, and tenderness, even in the face of such terrible inequality, cruelty, loss, and disaster. This is a book that’s truly necessary for our moment.’

-- Rebecca Tamás, author of Strangers: essays on the human and nonhuman

‘Jessica Gaitán Johannesson “stays with the trouble” of climate, environmental, and social injustice with a searching honesty. Tangled, raw, and sparking with intelligence, The Nerves and Their Endings shows how the personal and the political, the human body and the earth’s body, are knotted together. As living, feeling, thinking beings our nervous system connects with the world’s systems. When the world is sick, we are too. [Gaitán Johannesson] challenges the tunnel vision of fear-based responses to the multiplying crises of our times, while alert to the unevenness of the suffering caused, the cushioning afforded by privilege, and the responsibility to act that this implies. She asks the hard questions and tackles them with integrity and an open heart. There are no trite answers offered here, rather, an honest exploration of what “hope” might look and feel like in these times, and why we need it in order “not to feel responsible but to ably respond”.’

-- Samantha Clark, author of The Clearing

‘A pained, dedicated book, which thinks with care about how planetary, personal, and political are inseparable. It seeks out what matters, and where there is most at stake. I found its stories of ecological crisis and intimate experience absorbing, Gaitán Johannessen has a clear analytical voice and a gently deprecating sense of humour.’

-- Daisy Hildyard, author of Emergency

The Nerves and Their Endings is both important and beautiful. Jessica Gaitán Johannesson writes compellingly about the need to view the climate crisis in a wider context. We should all be listening to her.’

-- Jessie Greengrass, author of The High House

‘Through these remarkable personal essays and poetry on crisis and climate, crystal clear and unflinching, Jessica Gaitán Johannesson allows us the space to absorb and respond to our own intimate histories while considering the ways we connect (and can be of use to) to the world around us. Truly a talent, this a powerful, generous, community-minded book, and I feel wiser and more empowered for having read it.’

-- Niven Govinden, author of Diary of a Film

The Nerves and Their Endings captures the terrifying freefall of the current moment, stripping away the illusory membrane that separates us from each other and from past and future, and showing, with remarkable elegance and intelligence, the transformative effect of that recognition.’

-- James Bradley, author of Ghost Species

The Nerves and Their Endings beautifully presents the manifest ways our current global crisis intersects with personal experience of crises. Across a broad range of compelling and lyrical essays, Jessica generously gifts us her own narratives and knowledge, of the type that is as bodily as it is metaphysical. She has produced an emotive and detailed map from which we can learn and change, just as we must from the catastrophe itself.’

-- Alice Hattrick, author of Ill Feelings

The Nerves and Their Endings is a beautiful book full of solidarity, grief, and love. Jessica writes with a soft, ardent touch about the climate crisis, the climate movement, and living across borders. I felt I was being spoken to by a friend and also by a poet.’

-- Yara Rodrigues Fowler, author of there are more things

The Nerves and Their Endings is a deft, clear-eyed, and deeply felt essay collection that not only articulates the immense loss, complicity, and powerless felt in the capitalist West against the rising waters, but also the hope that enlivens good political writing always: the hope that when we look and think and move together — implicated, entangled — we grow the nerve to align in action. Jessica Gaitán Johannesson is a humane, original, and extremely talented writer, and this collection is a true pleasure to read and think with.’

-- Ellena Savage, author of Blueberries

‘I devoured this bold, experimental collection of essays … Moving, funny, and fierce.’

-- Mairi Oliver & Jim Taylor * The Bookseller *

‘Each line in this short book bears careful reading … an evolving, lyrical, and unrelenting analysis of the accelerating climate crisis, which in its short pages offers critique of capitalism, racism, colonialism, capitalism, racism, colonialism, patriarchy, and the contradictions within the climate movement itself.’

-- Frieda Klotz * Sunday Independent *

‘Bold and deeply affecting.’

* The Skinny *

‘In these elliptical, probing essays, Johannesson mines her own life – her experience of anorexia, her mother’s illness and death, her inner conflict over her work as an activist – to wrestle with larger philosophical questions about the illusion of self-sufficiency and control, the social inequities the climate crisis exposes, the ethical responsibilities inherent in bringing children into the world, and finally, what hope might look like in times like this.’

* The Sydney Morning Herald *

‘These lyrical essays by bookseller Johannesson contemplate the consequences of impending climate collapse … Johannesson’s prose has a quiet, entrancing pull, and she cleverly structures her pieces to highlight unexpected connections, driving home her vision of interconnectedness. Understated and moving, this ruminative outing resonates.’

* Publishers Weekly *

Praise for How We Are Translated:

How We Are Translated is the most contemporary of novels; set somehow both in the now and in the distant past; in one city that could be many cities, and in two different languages, though also in defiance of language, with as much focus on the silences between words as the words themselves. It’s a novel that maintains just the right balance of oddity, intimacy, and illumination. It’s a novel that anyone interested in the future of the English novel needs to read!’

-- Sara Baume, author of Spill Simmer Falter Wither

Praise for How We Are Translated:

‘A novel brimming with ideas and promise.’

-- Lucy Knight * The Sunday Times *

Praise for How We Are Translated:

‘One of the gentlest and most patient, humane, and quirky things I have read in a long time … Hugely original.’

-- Niamh Campbell, author of This Happy

  • Short-listed for ABDA Award for Best Designed Non-Fiction Cover 2023 (Australia)

ISBN: 9781913348656

Dimensions: 198mm x 129mm x 14mm

Weight: unknown

192 pages