The Natural Way of Things isn’t a novel I ‘enjoyed’ in the traditional sense. Sure, it’s engrossing, and you’re likely to tear through over a couple of reading stints – but it’s an uncomfortable read. It’s unsettling, and unflinching in its portrayal of misogyny. But it needs to be. This is a subject that has to be explored candidly. Such stories need to have impact. Such stories need to resonate. And Charlotte Wood’s latest does. Boy, it does…
When Verla and Yolanda awaken, drugged and barely coherent, The Natural Way of Thingsreads like the beginning of a dystopian epic. But very quickly, Wood reveals this isn’t an impossible future. This is a novel set very much in the present, which deals with society’s abhorrent rape culture and slut-shaming, and the reality of misogyny. It’s turned up to the nth degree, but there’s truth to this fiction.
Verla and Yolanda, like the eight other women held captive by their sadistic guards in a remote, unspecified location somewhere in Australia, have all suffered from a variety of public sex scandal. Here, they are worked to the bone; degraded and violated in horrible ways, to such extremes that they eventually lose sight of their previous existence, and become focused on one thing: survival. Comparisons to The Lord of the Flies are deserved, but The Natural Way of Things is very much its own beast. Like its classic predecessor, it’ll leave you with plenty to think about.
This is a brave, terrifying novel. The Natural Way of Things is an elegant, enthralling, and provocative tale. It will leave a mark.
Format: Paperback (208mm x 153mm x mm)
Imprint: Allen & Unwin
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Publish Date: 1-Oct-2015
Country of Publication: Australia