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 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?
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.
About the Author
Charlotte Wood is the author of five novels and a book of non-fiction. Charlotte was also editor of the short story anthology Brothers and Sisters, and for three years edited The Writer's Room Interviews magazine. The Australian described her as 'one of our most original and provocative writers'. She lives in Sydney.
Charlotte Wood's shocking feminist dystopia, sees 10 women, all of whom have been involved in sex scandals with powerful men, held in a remote prison in Australia. Beautiful and savage - think Atwood in the outback. -- Paula Hawkins * Observer *
This is not psychological fiction but a horror parable; a portrait not of people, but of tendencies. Seen as mythical archetypes, the characters are only too frighteningly real...The Natural Way of Things is chillingly dark and unfashionably didactic. But it's also compulsively readable, and bears its load of significance with effortless power. The fury of contemporary feminism may have found its masterpiece of horror. * Guardian *
A haunting parable of contemporary misogyny...Ms Wood's writing is direct and spare, yet capable of bursting with unexpected beauty. * Economist *
A heavy, traumatic yet thrilling read... The Natural Way of Things had me gripped from beginning to end... It strongly appealed to my feminist nature and had me questioning our social standpoints.... An eye-opener in true form. * Grazia *
This is an extraordinary novel: inspired, powerful, at once coherent and dreamlike. * Sydney Morning Herald, Best Books of 2015 *
A confronting and blazing read... A novel to provoke thought, conversation, disgust, anger and concern, a work that will haunt the reader with its poetry and the stark truths buried within Wood's brilliant exploration of a toxic culture in extremis. * Weekend Australian *
A virtuoso performance, plotted deftly through a minefield of potential traps, weighted with allegory yet swift and sure in its narrative advance. -- Rosemary Sorensen * Sydney Review of Books *
A dystopian fable, both gripping and lyrical. * The Saturday Age, Best Books of 2015 *
A moving, mesmerising and brilliantly topical interrogation of misogyny that demands to be read at a sitting. * Adelaide Advertiser *
Bold, provocative, startling and insightful, The Natural Way of Things is what fiction should be. * The Newtown Review of Books *
[A] Confronting, confounding novel of mysteriously kidnapped and imprisoned women. * The Australian, Best Books of 2015 *
The kind of book you inhale in a sitting... Stark prose and unrelenting pace. * The Saturday Paper, Best Books of 2015 *
How each character copes with their unusual incarceration is fascinating. The language is beautiful... Charlotte Wood's is a unique, original voice that soothes and shocks in equal measures in this pitch-perfect dystopian nightmare. * Townsville Bulletin *
Exposing the threads of misogyny, cowardice and abuses of power embedded in contemporary society, this is a confronting, sometimes deeply painful novel to read. With an unflinching eye and audacious imagination, Charlotte Wood carries us from a nightmare of helplessness and despair to a fantasy of revenge and reckoning. * Guardian *