The New Wilderness: Unexplored Territory

We’re excited to read Diane Cook’s The New Wilderness, a fascinating tale of family sacrifice intertwined with the harsh reality of modern pollution. Volunteers trek from a packed metropolis to the last remaining wildlife reserve to live as hunter-gatherers. A mother must bring her daughter into this new life just to escape the suffocating smog. 

The Guardian Writer Téa Obreht described this masterpiece with, “Cook’s desired intention, I believe, must be to highlight the mutedness with which her characters have come to experience events that would horrify most 21st-century readers: a fatal mauling, a fall down an abyss, even the tragic stillbirth of a child whose personhood is heartbreakingly discounted.” From this, I expect some Lord of the Flies elements, with the civilized behavior breaking down under the harsh environment. “Survival of the fittest.” Growing up with this exposure, the girl may be more fit than even her own mother. How will their relationship mutate under these conditions? This novel grapples with change and displays the characters facing environments different from ones they have grown up in and been a part of for years. In a world suffering from climate change and excessive environmental pollution, it is important to remember that the world can change in an instant. The New Wilderness makes its readers really think about the surrounding world and how we fit into it.

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