Friday, August 26, 2016

Aussie Author Challenge: Book 9

The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood:

One of my great friends who is a lover of books praised this book and gave it to me as a birthday gift.  This recommendation alone had me intrigued. 

Also, it is receiving much praise from the Australian literary community, and it is on the shortlist for this year's Miles Franklin Award, which is Australia's "most prestigious literary award".  I must admit, I'm not always a reader/fan of these "prestigious" books...but I was still intrigued.

When I finished this book, I immediately wrote "So many thoughts.  So many questions.  So many emotions.  I need to digest."  After a couple of days, I still feel that way.  Adequately sharing my thoughts might prove difficult, but I will try.

First, I'll share this short clip from goodreads:  "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."

Americans, do you remember the disappearance of Chandra Levy?  At the age of 24, she was reported as a missing person.  During the investigation, it was learned that she "allegedly" was having an affair with a married U.S. Congressman.  Reportedly, when questioned, this man seemed evasive and more concerned with saving his own face and reputation, rather than concern over Miss Levy's whereabouts and safety.

Hypothetically, in a fictitious world, what if it was arranged to just have someone like Chandra Levy "sent away"?  Removed from the society that she lived in and muddied the waters with her existence due to such a sexual scandal?  Punished for her promiscuous behaviour?  (Again, not my thoughts...this is for the sake of a work of fiction.)  That's the premise of this book.

Young women that are connected by a variety of popular, news-worthy sexual scandals (gang rape by football players, sexual harassment and relations with a judge on a singing reality competition show, an affair with a politician and more) are drugged and seemingly, kidnapped, taken to a place that I can only describe as similar to a concentration camp.  They live in horrendous conditions with no real knowledge of how they got there or what will happen to them.  What they do know:  "The reason for their captivity has a blank clarity: they are hated." (Pg 171)

The story is captivating.  The reader experiences the women's descent into madness, their quest for survival or revenge.  There are many, many passages that are extremely difficult to stomach, but they are an adequate description of the conditions these women were forced to face.  I couldn't help but question how I, personally, would/could handle such conditions.  I could see myself going either way...losing my sanity, becoming engrossed with revenge, doing what needed to be done to survive, or just wanting to give up.  While reading and following the journey, I felt such a range of emotions from anger and disgust to triumph and hopefulness. 

Without saying too much more, about the story itself, one of the lessons that shall stick with me from this story is this (broken down in simplest form):  Life can be tough and extremely challenging, but it is always best to be in charge of one's own journey.

It's the 7th year for the Aussie Author Challenge, and my 2nd year participating (click on the picture/link to take you directly to the site for more information).  My working book list is as follows:

Female Authors:

Male Authors:

Authors New to Me:


  1. Part of me wants to read this, part of me is scared to read this. I won't lie, I've been enjoying my lighter reads after my string of WW2 books.

  2. Wow... this sounds like one of those as well to me that makes me so into reading it, but leaving me so all the emotions of not knowing HOW to feel.

  3. hmmmm this definitely sounds like an interesting read! adding to my list, as i am falling behind on my australian author challenge lol

  4. This book sounds so fascinating to me. My library, unfortunately, doesn't carry it, which really bums me out. Still, it's on my TBR. Maybe I'll find it elsewhere secondhand or just have to buy it on Amazon. Either way, it feels like a very thought-provoking kind of read that I can't miss.

  5. Whoa. This book sounds intense. Honestly, I try to avoid realistic stories. I like fantasy and I like historical fiction (because it's in the past). This sounds like the total opposite- a book that focuses on the real life issues that we (women) face today. It definitely sounds interesting but I don't know that my emotions could handle it!

  6. I added this to my list because I saw your review on Goodreads and the comparison of this book to The Handmaid's Tale on GR. Definitely will be reading this!

  7. I was sort of on the fence about this book. It was recommended to me on Goodreads multiple times, but I kept feeling like it might not deliver what I want. After reading your review, though, I'm adding it to my list.

    Unfortunately, they don't seem to have it at my library right now. I'm going to request that they order it! Hopefully they will.

  8. I'll admit to being slightly afraid of reading this one. Sounds very powerful.


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