I intended to write a review. But what review could top the one by the Great Old One, Cthulhu himself, over at Savage Minds. Also, I believe this book is not to be reviewed, but to be read. It's every trans- and multispecies person's wet dream come true. So here are some of my thoughts.
There is one aspect to the book, not outspoken, very inherent. Donna Haraway doesn't like transhuman and anthropocene concepts and I understand that very well. Anthropocene, post- and transhuman stories are still very much focused on human ontologies and etymologies. Even OOO with it's deanthropocentric intention, still philosophes in regard to what can be described via human concepts. If we ask ourself how it is to be a thing, then being and thing are still uttermost human.
That is ok. We're human and we wont be able to not be human until we are. And this is the place were Staying with the Trouble gives me more then let's say, Harman's Circus Philosophicus, itself a great and wonderful book. Haraway doesn't concentrate on being human to much. She instead tries to convey the infinite complexity of being, especially in relation to the living persons we share our spacetime with. She shows, what it is to be human in relation to other species.
On of the most important word plays and mantras that Haraway uses throughout the book is: "It matters what stories we tell stories with." Through a magnificient array of examples she lines up what this could look like in relation to being and species. Being of and with the world, not just in it, and sympoiesis are strong themes that tell another such story.
"Host-symbiont" seems an odd locution for what is happening; at whatever size, all the partners making up holobionts are symbionts to each other.
What to do with this book? It's not a practical guide to be applied onto future living. It's also not a theoretical book, in my opinion, that lies foundations for whatever. I believe, the strength of this book and the way Donna Haraway wrote it, is in reimagining what already is and to do so together with the reader and to do so with all the other beings that we populate this planet with.
Welcome to the world of multispecies being. Let's stay here for a moment, ok?
Header Image: Detail of a miniature showing vultures feeding on human carrion, from the Rochester Bestiary, south-eastern England (?Rochester), c. 1230, Royal MS 12 F XIII_, f. 50r _via: http://blogs.bl.uk/digitisedmanuscripts/2015/10/medieval-animal-tales.html