The New Wilderness
Helen Phillips meets Miranda July in this daring and imaginative debut novel that explores a moving mother-daughter relationship in a world ravaged by climate change and overpopulation, a suspenseful second book from the author of the acclaimed story collection, Man V. Nature.Bea’s five-year-old daughter, Agnes, is slowly wasting away. The smog and pollution of the City—an over-populated, over-built metropolis where most of the population lives—is destroying her lungs. But what can Bea do? No one leaves the City anymore, because there is nowhere else to go. But across the country lies the Wilderness State, the last swath of open, protected land left. Here forests and desert plains are inhabited solely by wildlife. People are forbidden. Until now. Bea, Agnes, and eighteen others volunteer to live in the Wilderness State as part of a study to see if humans can co-exist with nature. Can they be part of the wilderness and not destroy it? Living as nomadic hunter-gatherers, this new community wanders through the grand country, trying to adhere to the strict rules laid down by the Rangers, whose job it is to remind them they must Leave No Trace. As the group slowly learns to live and survive on the unpredictable and often dangerous land, its members battle for power and control and betray and save each other. The farther they roam, the closer they come to their animal soul.To her dismay, Bea discovers that, in fleeing to the Wilderness State to save Agnes, she is losing her in a different way. Agnes is growing wilder and closer to the land, while Bea cannot shake her urban past. As she and Agnes grow further apart, the bonds between mother and daughter are tested in surprising and heartbreaking ways.Yet just as these modern nomads come to think of the Wilderness State as home, its future is threatened when the Government discovers a new use for the land. Now the migrants must choose to stay and fight for their place in the wilderness, their home, or trust the Rangers and their promises of a better tomorrow elsewhere.

The New Wilderness Details

TitleThe New Wilderness
Author
ReleaseAug 11th, 2020
PublisherHarper
ISBN-139780062333155
Rating
GenreFiction, Science Fiction, Dystopia

The New Wilderness Review

  • Nenia ⚔️ Queen of Villainy ⚔️ Campbell
    January 1, 1970
    CLIMATE CHANGE IS REALDon't @ me.
  • Diane Cook
    January 1, 1970
    Even better than Man V. Nature.
  • xTx xTx
    January 1, 1970
    i massively loved Man V Nature so I was STOKED to read this book. and it didn't disappoint.I loved every minute of it. The motherhood of it. The wilderness struggle. The dirt, blood, sinew and sweat. The journey. The survival.Seems eerily prophetic. Go Agnes.
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  • Chris Haak
    January 1, 1970
    'The New Wilderness' is a dystopian novel about a world being ruined by climate change and overpopulation, it's a novel about survival, and it's about a mother-daughter relationship. I enjoyed reading this, but to be honest I didn't get what it was trying to say and apart from the writing it isn't any better than the already existing dystopian novels.Thank you Edelweiss and Harper Collins for the ARC.
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  • deep
    January 1, 1970
    PW Starred: "In this wry, speculative debut novel (after the collection Man v. Nature), Cook envisions a crowded and polluted near future in which only one natural area remains, the Wilderness State. Twenty people volunteer for a government experiment in how humans fare in the wilderness—it’s been so long since anyone tried that no one remembers. Among the volunteers are Glen, “an important person” at a university; his wife, Bea; and Bea’s daughter, Agnes, and they, along with the others, collec PW Starred: "In this wry, speculative debut novel (after the collection Man v. Nature), Cook envisions a crowded and polluted near future in which only one natural area remains, the Wilderness State. Twenty people volunteer for a government experiment in how humans fare in the wilderness—it’s been so long since anyone tried that no one remembers. Among the volunteers are Glen, “an important person” at a university; his wife, Bea; and Bea’s daughter, Agnes, and they, along with the others, collectively called “The Community,” learn to eke out a precarious existence hunting with bows and arrows, tanning animal hides, and negotiating dangerous terrain. As the years pass unmarked other than with Bea noticing a fourth annual appearance of violet blossoms, the volunteers gradually abandon their commitments to the study, though they remain expected to obey rules enforced by Rangers—never stay in one place longer than seven days, never leave a trace—as members die off. More waitlisted refugees, called Newcomers, arrive from the city, and Bea perseveres, driven by hope for Agnes’s future. Cook powerfully describes the Community members’ transformation from city folk to primal beings, as they become fierce, cunning, and relentless in their struggle for survival and freedom, such as when Bea faces off with a mother coyote. Cook’s unsettling, darkly humorous tale explores maternal love and man’s disdain for nature with impressive results. (Aug.)"
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  • Kathleen Flynn
    January 1, 1970
    Loved Man v. Nature and really looking forward to reading this one!
  • Kristi N
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book as an ARC and intended to give an honest review. However, after three months of picking this book up and placing it back down, I only made it 1/3 of the way through it. The subject matter was more of an issue for me than the writing, what I read was very well written. Given the genre, characters were well developed and a connection was developing. But reading it during a global pandemic was too heavy FOR ME. I'll try again in the future and reserve the right to modify my rev I received this book as an ARC and intended to give an honest review. However, after three months of picking this book up and placing it back down, I only made it 1/3 of the way through it. The subject matter was more of an issue for me than the writing, what I read was very well written. Given the genre, characters were well developed and a connection was developing. But reading it during a global pandemic was too heavy FOR ME. I'll try again in the future and reserve the right to modify my review.
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  • Lisa Konet
    January 1, 1970
    This was just an ok book for me although the plot and characterization reminded me of the dystopian Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth. The premise sounded interesting but the whole book was just flat and boring to me, sorry but just my opinion. Was quite underwhelmed by this book after coming off a few thrillers and some engaging non-fiction. Next, please!Thanks to NEtgalley, author and publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.Available: 8/11/20
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  • Emi Bevacqua
    January 1, 1970
    The main plot here is about survival in the wilderness by a select group brought in to conduct a mysterious study, while those remaining in the city suffer undescribed (but easily imaginable, in 2020) hardship and misery. But the theme running through all the adventure, faction-building and violence is about parenting and the mother-daughter bond. Bea is the mom and Agnes is the daughter, there is a grandmother too who moves the plot and yet is kept obscured. Glen is the father figure, and then The main plot here is about survival in the wilderness by a select group brought in to conduct a mysterious study, while those remaining in the city suffer undescribed (but easily imaginable, in 2020) hardship and misery. But the theme running through all the adventure, faction-building and violence is about parenting and the mother-daughter bond. Bea is the mom and Agnes is the daughter, there is a grandmother too who moves the plot and yet is kept obscured. Glen is the father figure, and then there are a bunch of members of the originalist tribe, rangers, subsequent newcomers, and random interlopers; a lot to try to keep track of. For me there was a little too much play by play on all the action, where what I was really wanting was to know what was happening in the city, and what Bea did there for the whole year she was gone.As we readers are stuck in a world weighing science-based best practices of sheltering in place and flattening the curve, against business-positive initiatives like herd immunity and reopening safely, I found the vague yet crazy politics of The New Wilderness interesting. I liked the scrappiness and leadership qualities to Agnes and her mother.
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  • Rachelle
    January 1, 1970
    The New Wilderness... a chilling apocalyptic look into what could be the future of planet Earth. Cities in ruin, an experiemental program selects a group of citizens to live alone in the wilderness to test survival skills and determine if it's possible for humans to coexist with animals and nature, not disturbing the environment. New communities threaten the safety of the original group, as they strive to reproduce and thrive.
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  • Rhonda Lomazow
    January 1, 1970
    Dark chilling dystopian.A world being destroyed by the climate a mother looking to protect her child.A book of the future a book of destruction.So chilling a true page turner.Thanks Goodreads for my arc.
  • Amanda
    January 1, 1970
    One of the strangest books I’ve read in a long time. Oregon Trail meets a futuristic dystopia.
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