Our featured writer for October: Charlotte Wood
Every month, we do a spotlight feature on an Australian author and Charlotte Wood is our chosen author for October.
Wood’s new novel, 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.
What’s the book about?
Two women awaken from a drugged sleep to find themselves imprisoned in a broken-down property in the middle of a desert. 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?
What did our reviewer say?
Our reviewer Emily Gale read this book is one sitting, and then couldn’t stop thinking about it for weeks. She writes: “I was gripped by the full-bodied, precise prose. Wood deftly shows us how we are savage, revolting, tender, desperate, and especially how we survive. … The ending of the novel is its own triumph.”
What’s the story behind the book?
Wood told us that the “very first glimmer” this novel came to her via an ABC Radio National documentary about the Hay Institution for Girls, a brutal prison in rural NSW. She said: “At this place, which operated in extreme cruelty until 1974, the girls were forced to march everywhere, were never allowed to look up from the floor or speak to each other, and endured all kinds of official punishments. … I knew I wanted to write about a place like this.”
What are the last five books Wood has read?
Because we’re nosy book-lovers, we asked Wood which were the last five books she’d read. She named Tegan Bennett Daylight’s one of “favourite books of the year”, commented on Fiona Wood’s “classy way with dialogue”, and called Richard Glover’s memoir “extremely moving”.
Meet Charlotte Wood
We are delighted to be hosting a free event with Wood to celebrate the release of her novel. She will be joined in conversation by author Paddy O’Reilly at our Hawthorn shop on Wednesday 28 October.