The present article fosters a dialogue among multiple currents of literary research. Disability scholars such as Garland-Thomson, Davis, and Mitchell and Snyder, have famously explored the literary conventions of normativity. Their queries on normates and statistical averages, form a parallel line of thought with Moretti’s (2007) ‘distant reading’ of the novel. These two distinct pathways- distant reading and disability- lead to the same questioning of the accepted aesthetics of rationality, which of course interests scholars of Anthropocene. An environmental thinker of the stature of Ghosh (2016) has already taken up Moretti’s observations, and the present article places that engagement into a still richer context, with decolonial thinkers such as Grech, Maldonado-Torres, and Mignolo. This broad juxtaposition of thinkers, indicates that disability thought already prepares the environmentally conscious imagination to reach for alternatives to ableist and colonial readings. The principles of this wideranging theoretical dialogue are then put to the test with examples drawn from three Mexican writers’ fiction. The novels Formol (2014) by Carla Faesler (b. 1967) and Despúes del invierno (2014) by Guadalupe Nettel (b. 1973), along with the short story ‘La pierna era nuestro altar’ from El esquinista (2014) by Laia Jufresa (1983), review colonial habits using the aesthetic of realism and end up in familiar disenchantment that forestalls the possibility of an alternative. Nevertheless, these texts manage to interrupt their conventional fictions in the realist mode for moments of mindfulness. These pauses from accepted reasoning suggest an alternative style of cogitation, against the assumptions of the ‘normate,’ that may support Felski’s and Latour’s calls for a turn away from disenchantment. The article concludes that literary fiction might begin to listen to its own science and contemplate environmental disaster through a more mindful mode of poetic thought, a perceptive thinking that does not automatically accept the conventions established for the rational as the only ‘realistic’ aesthetic. The breaks or ‘breathers’ from the conventions of rationality included in these three contemporary fictions point the way toward a permissible mode of wellbeing in accordance with decolonial goals. Even if such mindful writing does not ultimately take hold in literary fiction, it may still aid critics in reassessing the tendency of the normate to cast itself as a superior kind of victim.
Disability & the Global South (DGS), 2019, Vol. 6 No. 1