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Description - The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood

Joint winner of the Prime Minister's Literary Awards 2016 - Fiction category Winner of the 2016 Stella PrizeShe hears her own thick voice deep inside her ears when she says, 'I need to know where I am.' The man stands there, tall and narrow, hand still on the doorknob, surprised. He says, almost in sympathy, 'Oh, sweetie. You need to know what you are.'Two women awaken from a drugged sleep to find themselves imprisoned in a broken-down property in the middle of nowhere. Strangers to each other, they have no idea where they are or how they came to be there with eight other girls, forced to wear strange uniforms, their heads shaved, guarded by two inept yet vicious armed jailers and a 'nurse'. The girls all have something in common, but what is it? What crime has brought them here from the city? Who is the mysterious security company responsible for this desolate place with its brutal rules, its total isolation from the contemporary world? Doing hard labour under a sweltering sun, the prisoners soon learn what links them: in each girl's past is a sexual scandal with a powerful man. They pray for rescue -- but when the food starts running out it becomes clear that the jailers have also become the jailed. The girls can only rescue themselves.The Natural Way of Things is a gripping, starkly imaginative exploration of contemporary misogyny and corporate control, and of what it means to hunt and be hunted. Most of all, it is the story of two friends, their sisterly love and courage.With extraordinary echoes of The Handmaid's Tale and Lord of the Flies, The Natural Way of Things is a compulsively readable, scarifying and deeply moving contemporary novel. It confirms Charlotte Wood's position as one of our most thoughtful, provocative and fearless truth-tellers, as she unflinchingly reveals us and our world to ourselves.'As a man, to read it is as unsettling as receiving one piece of bad news after another. It is confronting. Yet anyone who reads it, man or woman, is going to be left with a sense that a long-hidden truth has been revealed to them. The Natural Way of Things is a brave, brilliant book. I would defy anyone to read it and not come out a changed person.' Malcolm Knox, author of The Wonder Lover'This is a stunning exploration of ambiguities - of power, of morality, of judgment. With a fearless clarity, Wood's elegantly spare and brutal prose dissects humanity, hatreds, our ambivalent capacities for friendship and betrayal, and the powerful appearance - always - of moments of grace and great beauty. The book's ending undid me through the shape of the world it reveals as much as its revisions of escape and survival. It will not leave you easily; it took my breath away.' Ashley Hay, author of The Railwayman's Wife

Buy The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood from Australia's Online Independent Bookstore, Boomerang Books.

Book Details

ISBN: 9781760111236
ISBN-10: 1760111236
Format: Paperback
(208mm x 153mm x mm)
Pages: 320
Imprint: Allen & Unwin
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Publish Date: 23-Sep-2015
Country of Publication: Australia

Book Reviews - The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood

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Book Review: Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood - Reviewed by (25 Oct 2015)

The Natural Way of Things is the fifth novel by Australian author, Charlotte Wood. Verla Learmont and Yolanda Kovacs are two of ten young women who wake from a drugged sleep to find themselves imprisoned in a brutal desert setting. Heads shaved, dressed in rough clothing, existing on a diet of instant noodles, cereal and sour milk, unable to bathe due to scarcity of water, and housed in large kennels, they are stripped of their dignity, subjected to hard labour and harsh treatment by their guards.

Their faces are somewhat familiar, and soon enough, they realise what they have in common: each has been involved in a sexual scandal that made them an embarrassment, an inconvenience, to the men involved. Many wonder if they will be rescued; Verla feels sure her lover will come for her; only Yolanda understands that no-one cares enough to look for them, that they will remain at the mercy of their jailers.

After some months, the situation changes, and with it, the balance of power. These (often spoiled) young women take on roles they never dreamed of in their privileged former lives: the pressure-cooker situation forces behaviour foreign to them all. The comparison of Wood’s unsettling tale to Lord of the Flies is certainly valid. Readers may feel a little frustrated with the fact that much is left unexplained, to be guessed at by both reader and characters. And while it is definitely not a comfortable read, it is certainly a powerful one. With thanks to TheReadingRoom and Allen&Unwin for this copy to read and review 3.5 stars

Author Biography - Charlotte Wood

The Australian newspaper has described Charlotte Wood as 'one of our most original and provocative writers.' She is the author of five novels and a book of non- fiction. Her latest novel, The Natural Way of Things, won the 2016 Indie Book of the Year and Indie Fiction Book of the Year prizes as well as the Stella Prize and has been shortlisted for the Victorian Premier's Literary Award and the Miles Franklin Award. It will be published in the UK and North America in 2016. Charlotte was also editor of the short story anthology Brothers and Sisters, and for three years edited The Writer's Room Interviews magazine. Her work has been shortlisted for various prizes including the Christina Stead, Kibble and Miles Franklin Awards. Two novels - The Children and The Natural Way of Things - have been optioned for feature films.

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Best Australian Stories 2016 by Charlotte Wood
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Remembering for Both of Us by Charlotte Wood
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