The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood

1. Published by Allen and Unwin 2. First lines 3. Death Cap Mushrooms 4. Poison mushroom 5. Pisanello drawing 6. Woman’s face
The reader says: “This is dark. With its raw descriptions  and distressing themes, this will be a book you will either love or hate.” 

I didn’t like this book.

Quotes from the book:  “… the way people said a girl was attacked, a woman was raped, this femaleness always at the centre, as if womanhood itself were the cause of these things? As if the girls somehow, through the natural way of things, did it to themselves.” p. 176

“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.” p. 18

Plot summary: A group of women are held against their will, and cruelly treated. The mysogonistic reason for it is clear, but what the object is (alluded to by the supposed arrival of Hardings) is never stated.

Adaptation: This novel is being adapted into film. Refer to The Natural Way of Things Film

Reading Group Notes (PDF)Reading-group-notes-Natural-Way-of-Things

Extract (PDF): The Natural Way of Things Charlotte Wood-Extract 2

  • Reviews
    • “Wood used American artist Louise Bourgeois, creator of (among other things) sculptures of female forms, and dresses hanging inside cages as inspiration when writing this book to “subconsciously create without trying to understand its meaning”. Read more at Sydney Morning Herald
    • “Charlotte Wood’s confronting story of misogyny is both shockingly realist in its details and deeply allegorical in its shape. Judge’s comment: Miles Franklin Award 2016
    • The Natural Way of Things forces us to confront grim truths in the way of the best literature, taking us into tough terrains calmly and boldly, setting everything out, inviting us to follow and learn.” Full review Griffith Review



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