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Booker Shortlist 2020: The New Wilderness by Diane Cook


With just 12 days to go until the biggest announcement of the year (possibly) what do the Readers Read team think of the shortlist?

Here is a reminder of what the official judges say about this book: A daring, passionate and terrifying novel about a mother’s battle to save her daughter in a world ravaged by climate change.

Bea’s five-year-old daughter, Agnes, is wasting away, consumed by the smog and pollution of the over-developed metropolis they call home. If they stay in the city, Agnes will die, but there is only one alternative – joining a group of volunteers in the Wilderness State. This vast expanse of unwelcoming, untamed land is untouched by mankind. Until now. Living as nomadic hunter-gatherers, Bea and Agnes slowly learn how to survive on this unpredictable, often dangerous land. But as Agnes embraces the wild freedom of her new existence, Bea realises that saving her daughter’s life means losing her in a different way.

At once a blazing lament of our contempt for nature and a deeply humane portrayal of motherhood, and what it means to be human, The New Wilderness is an extraordinary, compelling novel for our times.

Book Worm’s Thoughts: This book did puzzle me as I had no idea what the author was trying to achieve.
Why this could win: Timely especially now that we are living with Covid.
Why it might not win: It is not at well written or as powerful as other books on the shortlist.

Nicole’s Thoughts:   I’m seriously baffled by the shortlist.  Apeirogon was a MASTERPIECE as was Love and Other Thought Experiments.  Then we have this dreck.  Anyway you slice it this was not a good book.
Why this could win:  Is the author in a love triangle with Lee Child and Sameer Rahim?
Why it might not win:  It’s terrible.  It shouldn’t have been on the longlist le alone win.  And this would typically be my kind of book.  Just baffled.

Tracy’s Thoughts:  Ugh. I loathed this book. The writing was for younger readers than those that normally read Booker lists, and the premise was far from unique.
Why this could win:  Since this is the book I disliked the most it will probably win.

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