The New Wilderness Book

Images of a primitive future to escape a dystopian present!Diane Cook has written a booker prize nominated novel which is both appealing and appalling in equal measure. It is natural at times in our lives to feel pulled towards a simpler way of life and to challenge the meaning of 'progress' when we see old ways of life being torn apart by developments that close down factories, retail therapy three clicks away and children living in a virtual reality and separated from friendship bonds. But Cooks' the New Wilderness is more than a story about the fierce reality of living in the wild; it captures the essence of human relationships, particularly those between mothers and daughters, and the changing structural hierarchies that determine both physical and psychological wellbeing.I expected to like this book by the synopsis. I didn't expect to put it up as one of the best books I have ever read. I was sorry when it ended. Why? Well because there was still so much more to explore. Fellow book club readers have said they felt the end was rushed. Not so, I say! The characters are well described, with an opening scene of premature labour deep in the forest which both describes the nature of Bea's situation spartan situation and reflects on her choice to living with privations is conflicted between the best interests of her daughter and losing her mother in the process - no spoilers. Compelled to read on, we are introduced to the people Bea shares her fate with and how she must use her wits and guile in order to navigate herself and her small family through the challenges of communal living and survival. Over time we witness the changing group dynamics as the humble get weaker and the leaders use or abuse their, albeit limited, power. We learn something of the benefits of physical strength over intellectual ability through the project leaders Alex, Beas partner and University Professor who has set up the project, and his assistant Carl. The descriptions of the groups wanderings through the natural world are both captivating and vivid, with a clear sense of the characters purpose in each scene. It is both touching and moving, and yet at times frighteningly insular and intense, and we learn the Darwinian meaning of survival of the fittest coexisting with the ability to adapt. For a very simple premise, Diane Cook has left me thinking could I adapt to this environment. How manipulative would I need to become to navigate the challenges of communal living in such a raw and brutal environment?Read More

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  • Foyles

    At once a blazing lament of our contempt for nature and a deeply humane portrayal of motherhood, The New Wilderness is an extraordinary, urgent novel from a celebrated...

  • 178607821X
  • 9781786078216
  • Cook, Diane
  • 13 August 2020
  • Oneworld Publications
  • Hardcover (Book)
  • 416
  • Book

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