'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)
Planned as a micro-budget feature film adaptation, the film is the work of independent producers Katia Nizic and Emma Dockery.
Unit Suitable For
AC: Senior Secondary Literature (Unit 4)
dystopia, feminism, gender, gender roles and stereotypes, human rights, misogyny, nature, patriarchy, power and authority, social control, stereotypes, Sustainability, the environment
Critical and creative thinking, Ethical understanding, Literacy, Personal and social
'This paper examines the literary interview as a form, and as a source of research material for creative writing and literary studies. In the article, I discuss theoretical and methodological approaches to conversations with writers and the usefulness of the interview for creative writing scholars. Novelist Charlotte Wood published The Writer’s Room: Conversations about Writing (2016) soon after her award-winning fifth novel, The Natural Way of Things (2015), appeared; the two books were constructed at around the same time. Through an interview I conducted with Wood about The Writer’s Room and her reasons for speaking to contemporary writers, I assess the statements Wood makes in the introduction to her collection and explore the texture of literary interviews. The article examines what information interviews provide about an individual writer’s working methods and looks at the emotions or affect around authors’ writing lives as a means of gauging the utility of the interview for scholars and writers. I argue that while the apparent aim of the interview is to obtain insights into an author’s praxis, related objectives may be to build connections between authors and their readers, and to augment communities of writers.' (Abstract)