The Word for Woman is Wilderness

Abi Andrews. Two Dollar Radio, $16.99 trade paper (284p) ISBN 978-1-937512-79-8
Andrews’s debut traces the consuming wanderlust of a young British woman and the conclusions she reaches about herself, society, and the natural world. Nineteen-year-old Erin Miller has never lived near the wilderness, but she has felt its pull, and stories of great explorers and adventurers inspire and infuriate her: their pervasive maleness, their goals of conquest and flag-planting, and their consistent trend toward misogyny all challenge Erin to design her own quest for wildness, solitude, and self-discovery. “Wildness in women,” she says, “does not mean autonomy and freedom; their wildness is instead an irrational fever.... Women are both excluded from, and banished to nature.” Referencing and responding to Thoreau, the Unabomber, and Silent Spring author Rachel Carson, and events of space exploration, Erin travels to Canada by boat via Greenland, and then across the country to a cabin in the Alaskan wilderness. Along the way she confronts her guilt as a colonizer, the trauma of past sexual violence, and the hubris and hope of conservationism. Having established herself in the cabin in the Alaskan wilderness, Erin spends her time exploring her surroundings and settles into the business of living with the land. This deeply feminist adventure tale is a splendid, innovative response to the genre of masculine travelogue. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 04/04/2019
Release date: 03/01/2019
Genre: Fiction
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