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What Should Be Wild: A Novel av Julia Fine
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What Should Be Wild: A Novel (utgåvan 2018)

av Julia Fine (Författare)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
17514121,006 (3.38)1
Cursed. Maisie Cothay has never known the feel of human flesh: born with the power to kill or resurrect at her slightest touch, she has spent her childhood sequestered in her family's manor at the edge of a mysterious forest. Maisie's father - an anthropologist who sees her as more experiment than daughter - has warned her not to venture into the wood. Locals talk of men disappearing within, emerging with addled minds and strange stories. What he does not tell Maisie is that for millennia her female ancestors have also vanished into the wood, never to emerge - for she is descended from a long line of cursed women. But one day Maisie's father disappears, and she must venture beyond the walls of her carefully constructed life to find him. Away from her home and the wood for the very first time, Maisie encounters a strange world filled with wonder and deception. Yet the farther she strays, the more the wood calls her home. For only there can Maisie finally reckon with her power and come to understand the wildest parts of herself.… (mer)
Medlem:jessblackstock
Titel:What Should Be Wild: A Novel
Författare:Julia Fine (Författare)
Info:HarperAudio (2018)
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek
Betyg:
Taggar:Ingen/inga

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What Should Be Wild: A Novel av Julia Fine

  1. 00
    A Different Kingdom av Paul Kearney (caimanjosh)
    caimanjosh: Both of these works explore themes of a fantastical forest world lying alongside the modern world. Kearney's work has a more masculine POV, while Fine's is a very feminist view.
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Visa 1-5 av 14 (nästa | visa alla)
I'm almost at a loss for words, regarding this book. Still, I'll give it a go.

I'm a little stingy with my five-star reviews, but half-way through this novel I had to acknowledge that this was in line with other great, modern novels I've read. My tradition is to find signed, first edition, first printings of books that I find extraordinary; I've already started shopping for this one.

No doubt this is a book that will benefit from additional readings. I feel like, even though the prose was not particularly dense (really, not dense at all), there were so many things I simply wasn't able to pick up on in a first read. I think that's also by design, but then I'm trying not to put too much stock into what the author intended due to my natural tendency toward transactional reading and also because I think that's (ironically) one of the points of this story.

Rather than bog down with details, I'll say this: this is a story of a girl with a "gift," who touches living things and they die. Likewise, when she touches things that were alive in some way (and this is a very wide-ranging condition, believe me), they return to life. But as interesting as the premise was, and ultimately the reason I decided to read it, it was almost beside the point. This was a story of faith, of discovering truths that most would see as fairy stories or folklore. It's about the legacy of family, the nature of fatherhood, and our connection to our "sense of place." At least, for me, it was about these things. It is a beautiful, wonderful narrative. I challenge anyone to say otherwise.

I found myself thinking of The Testament of Gideon Mack frequently when reading. First, the structure of the narrative wasn't exactly linear, nor would it have worked otherwise. As a result, the reader has to keep a number of things straight in her head. Elements of the narrative that call back to earlier bits are frequent, but never made obvious, and the parallels between the two are never perfect which, like Gideon Mack, disorientates in the best possible way. What Should Be Wild isn't quite as open-ended as Gideon Mack in its central mystery, and as a result doesn't quite reach the same heights, but it comes close. I find myself reluctant to start another book, for fear of muddling my thinking about this one, as I did with Gideon.

The novel has its core elements that are as ancient as they are modern, random in spite of (or because of) the presence of ritual. There are mercifully few references to religion, though religion seems to play an important part in the narrative. Whatever gods are present here are more ancient, more forgotten, than any modern iterations. That contributes to the mystery, and while some knots are untangled, others remain tightly bound -- how could they not be so? So much of what we rely on to provide permanence is dependent on the written word, and the gods of this story (if there are any) predate written language. The relationship between stories, writing, and truth aren't as clear-cut, as the title reveals when it appears midway through the pages. Uncertainty is, ultimately, a feature in this novel, and it's quite frankly delicious.

Highly, highly recommended. If you know me IRL, be forewarned: This is the book I'll be pestering you to read for a while.
( )
  allan.nail | Jul 11, 2021 |
Hm. I think this book was trying to do too much and wasn't quite successful. ( )
  thereserose5 | Mar 3, 2021 |
A strange, fluid read. Amazing transgression of boundaries between historic and original myth. Occasionally uncomfortably close to my particular real-world religious upbringing. Things I wish: that I cared about Matthew or was truly horrified by Rafe; that Maisie managed to make a female friend; that there was... any... hint of queerness in a very queer story. ( )
  Menshevixen | Oct 13, 2020 |
On paper, this title fulfills a list of check marks of things I like: Girl with supernatural powers, a family curse, horror elements, dark humor. In reality, it wasn't my cup of tea. The premise is fantastic, but I wasn't digging the execution. The description compares the book to [b:Swamplandia!|40940157|Swamplandia!|Karen Russell|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1532478763s/40940157.jpg|13438215], but man, was I not getting that vibe at all.

The plot- Maisie Cothay is a girl born with the power to resurrect and kill by touch. She cannot walk on unvarnished wood without new growth sprouting from it, cannot hug people without killing them, and so on and so forth. Her father, Peter, sequesters and studies her at Urizon, her mother's family home. She grows up listening to stores of the men who are driven mad and the women who vanish in the woods nearby. Unknown to Maisie, the women who vanished in the woods are her ancestors and her family line has been cursed for millennia. For years, Maisie and her father live in the house, their only outside contacts a woman named Mrs. Blott, who becomes the caretaker of the house, a solicitor named Mr. Pepper, and Mother Farrow, a 100 year old woman who Mrs. Blott visits. One day, an unexpected tragedy leads to Peter's disappearance. It's up to Maisie to leave Urizon, and along with the help of Matthew, Mrs. Blott's great nephew, track down Peter's whereabouts and solve the mysteries of the woods.

Based off of the plot, I was expecting to LOVE this book. A coming of age story of a girl deprived of touch, spooky happenings in a nearby woods, a family curse ala [b:Holes|38709|Holes (Holes, #1)|Louis Sachar|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1327781893s/38709.jpg|1679789], dark humor. But, much to my surprise, I didn't love it. In fact, I'm not 100% sure I even liked it. You follow two separate story lines that both feel disjointed, yet linked in a maddening way. The story line that follows Maisie works well until her father disappears. Then, it goes in some truly unexpected directions that bogged down the plot and it takes a while to recover. Without going into plot details, it lingers at some of the locations that Maisie is at after her father disappears for far too long.

Also, pretty much every man in Maisie's life is, to some degree, The Worst. None of the men in her life, including her father, really take her viewpoint seriously, which is maddening to listen to. Eventually, I was like "Girl, ditch all these dudes and just follow your instincts!" But, at the same time, Maisie's instincts are not particularity great either. She reminded me a lot of Anna from Frozen in her nativity regarding who she puts her trust in once she leaves Urizon. I had a couple of forehead smack moments with her.

The other story line follows the women in Maisie's family who disappear in the woods. Their backstories were great to listen to, but once you're caught up on what happened before they disappeared in the woods, those parts didn't interest me much. Each woman is a very distinct character, although some of them are more developed than others.

One theme/thread in this book I liked a lot was the theme of women outside of societal norms who are underestimated, Maisie included, are more powerful than any of the men in their lives could possibly imagine. This theme shows up multiple times and it was done well without it being cliche.

I also liked how Maisie's powers work. The parts where Peter is doing experiments with Maisie, including having her sip orange juice, touch varnish/unvarnished wood, and others were fascinating to read. It reminded me of a mix of the powers of Ned from Pushing Daisies with Rogue from X-men.

Other than those two things, I wasn't a huge fan of this book. It may work for someone else, but for me, this is a hard pass. It did make me want to rewatch Pushing Daisies.

Also, I think I'm having a [b:Where'd You Go, Bernadette|13526165|Where'd You Go, Bernadette|Maria Semple|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1338822317s/13526165.jpg|17626728] experience with this title, reading about how funny it is, without actually finding it funny myself. Is it like a Magic Eye painting? You gotta squint to see it? Because, man, do I not have the patience for that. ( )
  rkcraig88 | Jul 15, 2019 |
This book started out strong - great imagination, a strong voice - I got the feeling that this author had an editor that really understood her strengths. I don't know much about folk tales, so I don't know if this story echoes or speaks to traditional tales, but that didn't matter to me. I especially liked having characters drawn from many centuries, from early medieval to the present, and the way Maisie was both of the 21st century and timeless, since she was raised in extreme isolation in the country. I liked watching her try to interpret people, and learn the hard way.

The story went off the rails for me as Maisie got older and the story devolved into a flirt triangle and strange abduction plot. All that was eerie and interesting suddenly took a YA route, rather than digging deeper into the lives of the women, their interconnections, the mysteries of the forest. Four stars for the first half, two for the last half. ( )
  badube | Mar 6, 2019 |
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Cursed. Maisie Cothay has never known the feel of human flesh: born with the power to kill or resurrect at her slightest touch, she has spent her childhood sequestered in her family's manor at the edge of a mysterious forest. Maisie's father - an anthropologist who sees her as more experiment than daughter - has warned her not to venture into the wood. Locals talk of men disappearing within, emerging with addled minds and strange stories. What he does not tell Maisie is that for millennia her female ancestors have also vanished into the wood, never to emerge - for she is descended from a long line of cursed women. But one day Maisie's father disappears, and she must venture beyond the walls of her carefully constructed life to find him. Away from her home and the wood for the very first time, Maisie encounters a strange world filled with wonder and deception. Yet the farther she strays, the more the wood calls her home. For only there can Maisie finally reckon with her power and come to understand the wildest parts of herself.

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