The Natural Way Of Things By Charlotte Wood-A Review

This book is a dark and disturbing dystopian tale, joining others such as 1984 (Orwell), A Handmaid’s Tale (Atwood), and 1Q84 (Murakami). The tone of the book is unremittingly bleak, and the underlying cautionary message of the book is that for women to dare to speak out about the truth of their sexual life, particularly if it implicates a man or men in wrongdoing such as rape will destroy them. Women’s bodies are seen as the cause of men’s actions; women are shamed, vilified, and portrayed as sluts, whores, and asking for whatever happened to them at the hands of men, the media, and, eventually, the events in this book. The women who are taken to the camp share similar stories. They’ve all spoken out in the media about being raped, with the exception of one woman who had her affair with a married politician exposed. Don’t look for any magical sisterhood or admirable character-forming to take place at this camp, despite their shared misery and deprivation. Though two women do grow and develop in interesting ways, forming a bond of sorts, the women by and large function maladaptively. The two women that the book focuses upon are fierce, brave, and survivors in a place that offers little hope. Warning: If you like your endings clean and your resolutions tidy, this is not the book for you.

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