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Cover image courtesy of publisher.
y separately published work icon The Natural Way of Things single work   novel  
Issue Details: First known date: 2015... 2015 The Natural Way of Things
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'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.

'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. Most of all, it is the story of two friends, their sisterly love and courage.

'With extraordinary echoes of The Handmaid's Tale and Lord of the Flies, The Natural Way of Things is a compulsively readable, scarifying and deeply moving contemporary novel. It confirms Charlotte Wood's position as one of our most thoughtful, provocative and fearless truth-tellers, as she unflinchingly reveals us and our world to ourselves.' (Publication summary)

Exhibitions

17215663
17023670

Adaptations

form y separately published work icon The Natural Way of Things Australia : 2017 9270594 2017 single work film/TV

Planned as a micro-budget feature film adaptation, the film is the work of independent producers Katia Nizic and Emma Dockery.

Reading Australia

Reading Australia

This work has Reading Australia teaching resources.

Unit Suitable For

AC: Senior Secondary Literature (Unit 4)

Themes

dystopia, feminism, gender, gender roles and stereotypes, human rights, misogyny, nature, patriarchy, power and authority, social control, stereotypes, Sustainability, the environment

General Capabilities

Critical and creative thinking, Ethical understanding, Literacy, Personal and social

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • Crows Nest, North Sydney - Lane Cove area, Sydney Northern Suburbs, Sydney, New South Wales,: Allen and Unwin , 2015 .
      image of person or book cover 2481414552963059006.jpg
      Cover image courtesy of publisher.
      Extent: 320p.
      Note/s:
      • Published October 2015
      ISBN: 9781760111236
    • New York (City), New York (State),
      c
      United States of America (USA),
      c
      Americas,
      :
      Europa Editions ,
      2016 .
      image of person or book cover 323305725133736331.jpg
      Image courtesy of publisher's website.
      Extent: 230p.p.
      Note/s:
      • Published June 28, 2016
      ISBN: 9781609453626
    • London,
      c
      England,
      c
      c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Allen and Unwin ,
      2016 .
      image of person or book cover 8340790724328594313.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 316p.p.
      ISBN: 9781760291877, 1760291870
    • Crows Nest, North Sydney - Lane Cove area, Sydney Northern Suburbs, Sydney, New South Wales,: Allen and Unwin , 2018 .
      image of person or book cover 7417221589830084997.jpg
      Image courtesy of publisher's website.
      Extent: 1v.p.
      Edition info: Paperback
      Note/s:
      • Published October 2018.

      ISBN: 9781760633387
    • Crows Nest, North Sydney - Lane Cove area, Sydney Northern Suburbs, Sydney, New South Wales,: Allen and Unwin , 2019 .
      image of person or book cover 2647742160492388427.jpg
      Cover image courtesy of publisher.
      Extent: 320p.
      Note/s:
      • Published October 2019
      ISBN: 9781760877071
    • London,
      c
      England,
      c
      c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Weidenfeld and Nicolson ,
      2019 .
      image of person or book cover 6209426907904457551.jpg
      Image courtesy of publisher's website.
      Extent: 336p.
      Note/s:
      • Published 21 August 2019.
      ISBN: 9781474614412
Alternative title: Der natürliche Lauf der Dinge
Language: German
    • Hamburg,
      c
      Germany,
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Arctis ,
      2017 .
      image of person or book cover 464838668678645759.jpg
      Image courtesy of publisher's website.
      Extent: 303p.p.
      ISBN: 9783038800019, 3038800015

Other Formats

  • Also dyslexic edition
  • Braille.

Works about this Work

What Should Politicians Be Reading at Parliamentary Book Club? Our Experts Make Their Picks Jane Howard , 2019 single work column
— Appears in: The Conversation , 21 August 2019;
Recomposing the Slut : Feminist Taxidermic Practice in Charlotte Wood’s The Natural Way of Things Laura White , 2019 single work criticism
— Appears in: Configurations , Spring vol. 27 no. 2 2019;

'In her novel The Natural Way of Things (2016), Charlotte Wood investigates how taxidermic tactics participate in creating contemporary Australian gender relations. She documents how women who resist patriarchal ordering are assigned the status of taxidermic animal-objects as they are composed as sluts. Rather than simply critiquing the objectification of women or seeking to restore women marked as deviant to human status, Wood utilizes the position of the animal-object to challenge patriarchal constructions of the human and to illuminate the insights that become available from positions other than the human, signaling possibilities for feminist taxidermic practice.'  (Publication abstract)

The Natural Way of Things Named Book of the Year by University of Canberra, Which Gives Free Copies to Students Sarah L'Estrange , 2019 single work column
— Appears in: ABC News [Online] , May 2019;

'In 2019, every incoming student and staff member at the University of Canberra will be given a copy of Charlotte Wood's dystopian thriller The Natural Way of Things, as "required reading".'

Why Are Australian Authors Obsessed with Killing off Kangaroos? Donna Mazza , 2019 single work column
— Appears in: The Conversation , 4 March 2019;

'Kangaroos are the most visible of Australia’s unique animals, but despite their charm and national icon status, Australian writers perpetually kill them off.' (Introduction)

The Handmaid's Tale Meets Lord of the Flies Eric Heyne , 2018 single work review
— Appears in: Antipodes , vol. 32 no. 1/2 2018; (p. 318-320)

— Review of The Natural Way of Things Charlotte Wood , 2015 single work novel

'Opening Charlotte Wood's fifth novel, The Natural Way of Things, is like waking up in hell. Ten women have been drugged, kidnapped, hauled out to the middle of nowhere, and imprisoned in a former sheep station with three hired keepers. Almost immediately the women recognize each other from news coverage and piece together the sole link between them: that each has been involved in some kind of sex scandal, and now each has been carefully "disappeared," although the details of the operation—how it was coordinated and funded, why they were selected, and who planned the whole [End Page 318] thing—remain mysterious. Two-thirds of the way through the novel, there is a very short segment in which someone wonders what people would make of their absence: "Would it be said, they 'disappeared,' 'were lost'? Would it be said they were abandoned or taken, the way people said a girl was attacked, a woman was raped, this femaleness always at the center, as if womanhood itself were the cause of these things?" (133). But those questions quickly fade again into the background, and it begins to look like this novel is not exactly a feminist cautionary fable along the lines of The Handmaid's Tale. We never learn anything about the politics or motives of the cabal that so efficiently engineers this mass kidnapping. Certainly there is a running critique of routine Australian sexism; Wood is particularly keen to show us how sexist attitudes have been assimilated by the ten victims, to varying degrees. But the focus of the novel is less political than primordial. This is a kind of prison experiment, the jailers trapped inside with the prisoners, and everyone driven or reduced to something less than fully human. Or perhaps we were never as human as we thought?' (Introduction)

The Horrors of Misogyny Taken to Extremes Portia Lindsay , 2015 single work review
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 26-27 September 2015; (p. 25)

— Review of The Natural Way of Things Charlotte Wood , 2015 single work novel
Charlotte Wood : The Natural Way of Things Kylie Mason , 2015 single work review
— Appears in: The Newtown Review of Books , October 2015;

— Review of The Natural Way of Things Charlotte Wood , 2015 single work novel
Listen to the Sirens Rosemary Sorensen , 2015 single work review
— Appears in: Sydney Review of Books , October 2015;

— Review of The Natural Way of Things Charlotte Wood , 2015 single work novel
Food for Thought as Women Prove the Great Survivors Kerryn Goldsworthy , 2015 single work review
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 10-11 October 2015; (p. 26) The Saturday Age , 10-11 October 2015; (p. 29)

— Review of The Natural Way of Things Charlotte Wood , 2015 single work novel
Well Read Katharine England , 2015 single work review
— Appears in: The Advertiser , 10 October 2015; (p. 28)

— Review of The Natural Way of Things Charlotte Wood , 2015 single work novel
A Ragged Pair of Claws Stephen Romei , 2015 single work column
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 5-6 September 2015; (p. 17)
Interview : Charlotte Wood Susan Wyndham (interviewer), 2015 single work interview
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 26 September 2015; (p. 24-25) The Saturday Age , 26-27 September 2015; (p. 24)
Dark material emerges when a writer decides to go with her instincts.
Best Reads – End of Story Deborah Bogle , 2015 single work column
— Appears in: The Sunday Mail , 20 December 2015; (p. 24)
Miles Franklin Award Longlist 2016 : Five Out of Nine Nominees Are Women Steph Harmon , 2016 single work column
— Appears in: The Guardian Australia , 5 April 2016;
Includes The 2016 Miles Franklin longlist
A Fierce Response to Misogyny Wins the Stella Prize Jason Steger , 2016 single work column
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 20 April 2016; (p. 6)
Last amended 11 Nov 2019 15:56:32
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