Henrietta Rose-Innes’s novels often centre on the irruption into sanitary, constructed, (sub)urban human space of chaotic, untamed, unsanitary nature. ‘The Boulder’ operates in the same territory. The protagonist is a young man in the tentative openings of a relationship that seems doomed by gulfs of class and privilege. Sleeping in his new girlfriend’s family home, a luxurious but soulless beach house, he awakes one morning to discover a gigantic boulder has crashed into the garden. It appears as if plucked out of a dream. It could be seen to represent his hopes and his fears, both made manifest at once; but more than anything, it simply represents itself: colossal, indifferent, enduring nature.
Collected in Animalia Paradoxa, Boiler House Press, 2019