Edited by Jessica Maufort and Marc Maufort
[English Text Construction 15:2] 2022
► pp. 138–155
This paper explores “shadowtime”, or the co-existence of multiple temporalities, in Michelle Paver’s novel Dark Matter: A Ghost Story (2010). Dark Matter is filled with temporally strange figures that evade human vision and understanding. Central among these is the spectral presence of a gengånger, or ghost, which haunts the Arctic research station where the novel is largely set. After tracking some of the metaphorical and material dimensions of the spectral, this essay investigates “shadowtime” in the context of the novel’s various ‘archives’. It then looks at how the incorporeal or immaterial concepts of value and choice frame the novel’s ‘dark matters’. ‘Possibility’, or the question of ‘what if?’ pervades the novel’s pages, encouraging readers to imagine multiple realities simultaneously. This essay argues that, although set in a period predating wide awareness of climate change, Dark Matter’s “shadowtimes” create forms of temporal and ontological instability that resonate with the existential uncertainties of the Anthropocene.