The Natural Way of Things
"A Handmaid's Tale for the 21st century" (Prism Magazine), Wood's dystopian tale about a group of young women held prisoner in the Australian desert is a prescient feminist fable for our times. As the Guardian writes, "contemporary feminism may have found its masterpiece of horror."
Drugged, dressed in old-fashioned rags, and fiending for a cigarette, Yolanda wakes up in a barren room. Verla, a young woman who seems vaguely familiar, sits nearby. Down a hallway echoing loudly with the voices of mysterious men, in a stark compound deep in the Australian outback, other captive women are just coming to. Starved, sedated, the girls can't be sure of anything--except the painful episodes in their pasts that link them.
Drawing strength from the animal instincts they're forced to rely on, the women go from hunted to hunters, along the way becoming unforgettable and boldly original literary heroines that readers will both relate to and root for.
The Natural Way of Things is a lucid and illusory fable and a brilliantly plotted novel of ideas that reminds us of mankind's own vast contradictions--the capacity for savagery, selfishness, resilience, and redemption all contained by a single, vulnerable body.
2016 Stella Prize
2016 Prime Minister's Literary Award in Fiction
An Australian Indie Best Fiction Book & Overall Book of the Year Winner
2017 International Dublin Literary Award
2016 Voss Literary Prize
2016 Victorian Premier's Award
2016 The Miles Franklin Award
2016 Indie Book Awards Winner (Book of the Year & Fiction)
Shortlisted for Victorian Premier's Literary Award - Vance Palmer Prize for Fiction 2016.
Winner of the Stella Prize 2016.
'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
Charlotte Wood is the author of four novels and a book of non-fiction, and editor of The Writer's Room Interviews magazine. Her last novel, Animal People, was longlisted for the Miles Franklin award and her other books have been shortlisted for many prizes including the Miles Franklin and the Christina Stead Prize for Fiction. The Australian described her as "one of our finest and most chameleonic writers". She lives in Sydney and is working on her fifth novel.