Review: The Natural Way of Things

The Natural Way of Things
The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I thought this book was amazing. I’ve never read anything like it, I became ever so slightly addicted to it, up very late reading it when I should have been long asleep. The story of these kidnapped girls was realistic and yet fantastic, their absorption into the lifestyle of deprivation and total lack of resources. The changing relationships between the girls and their minders, who turn out to be as much prisoners as the girls they are minding. I thought the writing was compelling and languid at the same time. As the girl’s mental state shifted, the writing changed with it. The anger, the fantastic descriptions of the truly disgusting things they eat, the way the girls miss their previous lives and the gradual unravelling of several of them as they spiral down into madness and in some cases spiral right back up into awareness and clarity.

I have read so many long books which could have been so much shorter, but this one was just the small perfectly formed novel, not a single wasted word. With a feeling of dystopia about it and yet totally not a dystopian novel, this was a pleasure to read, in a really uncomfortable way.

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