[en] This chapter on “Narrating the Nuclear” is based on an analysis of two contemporary fictional texts from Luxembourg: a short story written in Luxembourgish by Yorick Schmit, “Eng Stëmm an der Stëllt” [= “A Voice in the Silence”] (2018), and a novel by French-speaking author Pierre Decock, Luxembourg Zone Rouge (2019). Both texts depict a nuclear disaster in a neighboring French atomic powerplant that has a significant and overall impact on the territory and the population of the small country of Luxembourg. Abundant risk theory has already emerged from the study of major nuclear attacks and industrial incidents during the 20th and 21st centuries. Alongside nuclear criticism and ecocriticism in the Anthropocene, this framework provides insight to impending ecocatastrophes, which are cataclysms with multiple impacts on very large spatial and temporal scales, related to the flawed relationship between humans and the nonhuman environment.
My claim is that both literary texts use the nuclear catastrophe as a metaphor for global and ecological collapse, with its multidimensional effects. Decock imagines how a whole nation becomes deprived of its territory, thus illustrating B. Latour’s vision that the “New Climatic Regime” will confront all societies with the loss of land (Down to Earth, 2018). Drawing upon the biography of a Japanese farmer who took care of abandoned animals after the Fukushima disaster, Schmit provides a more optimistic vision in exploring how to “liv[e] on a damaged planet” (A. Tsing et al., Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet, 2017). In the small literary field of Luxembourg, both texts reinterpret the local homeland imagery in the context of global environmental change, in which local disasters are increasingly related to planetary instability. Because a whole country or even culture can be eradicated by a nuclear incident, the small country of Luxembourg becomes a metaphor for Earth facing ecological collapse.