REVIEW: The New Wilderness by Diane Cook
For some reason, I'm drawn to climate fiction (or "cli-fi") lately. Maybe it's because I grew up reading Stephen King, so I like to read books that scare me, and there's nothing scarier than a story set in a world where society as we know it has crumbled as a result of climate change. Think The Road by Cormac McCarthy, Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, American War by Omar El Akkad, or Forty Signs of Rain by Kim Stanley Robinson.
The New Wilderness by Diane Cook is the latest cli-fi book to grab my attention. It is the story of Bea and her daughter Agnes, who have chosen to leave their life in the City behind in order to participate in a study to see if people can exist in nature without ruining it. They move to the Wilderness State, the last untouched piece of nature which has been protected against human development, where they live with a small group of other people and have to learn how to work together to survive in the elements.
They spend years as nomadic hunter-gatherers, subject to a manual full of rules that dictate how long they can stay in one place, and how to interact with nature. Rangers patrol the Wilderness State and force the group to toe the line, no matter how difficult life becomes. While relationships and bonds are pushed to the brink under these extraordinarily challenging circumstances, Bea starts to realize that bringing Agnes out of the City in an effort to cure her sickness from the polluted air might mean losing her to this new, wild way of life.
I loved this book and have to give it 5/5, even though there were times when the characters acted in ways I didn't want them to, or ways that I found difficult to understand without walking in their shoes (when they still have shoes...) Instead, those moments just solidified what a great book it is, since at times it evoked emotional reactions and strong feelings from me. I'm a little sad that I've finished the book, but the ending was immensely satisfying.
Don't sleep on The New Wilderness by Diane Cook - right now I have one copy available for sale on the website. Treat yourself to this beautiful, emotional, and immersive read.