Two women awaken from a drugged sleep to find themselves imprisoned in an abandoned property in the middle of a desert in a story of two friends, sisterly love and courage - a gripping, starkly imaginative exploration of contemporary misogyny and corporate control, and of what it means to hunt and be hunted.
Joint winner of the Prime Minister's Literary Awards 2016 - Fiction category Winner of the 2016 Stella Prize
She 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
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.
Shortlisted Christina Stead Prize for Fiction - NSW Premier's Literary Awards 2017 AU; Highly Commended James Tiptree Jr Literary Award 2017 US; Long-listed Voss Literary Prize 2016 AU; Long-listed Nita B Kibble Award for an Established Author 2016 AU; Short-listed Barbara Jefferis Award 2016 AU; Short-listed Queensland Literary Award - Fiction Category 2016 AU; Short-listed Miles Franklin Literary Award 2016 AU; Short-listed Australian Book Industry Awards - Literary Fiction Book of the Year 2016 AU; Short-listed ABA Nielsen BookData Booksellers Choice Award 2016 AU; Short-listed Victorian Premier's Literary Award - Fiction Category 2016 AU; Winner Prime Minister's Literary Awards - Fiction Category 2016 AU; Winner ABIA People's Choice Awards - Literary Fiction Book of the Year 2016 AU; Winner The Stella Prize 2016 AU; Winner Indie Book Awards - Best Fiction 2016 AU; Winner Indie Book of the Year 2016 AU
Allen & Unwin
Allen & Unwin