The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood
Two women awaken from a drugged sleep to find themselves imprisoned in a broken-down property in the middle of a desert. Strangers to each other, they have no idea where they are or how they came to be there with eight other girls.
The girls all have something in common, but what is it? What crime has brought them here from the city? Who is the mysterious security company responsible for this desolate place with its brutal rules, its total isolation from the contemporary world? Doing hard labour under a sweltering sun, the prisoners soon learn what links them: in each girl's past is a sexual scandal with a powerful man. They pray for rescue - but when the food starts running out, the girls can only rescue themselves.
The Natural Way of Things is a gripping, starkly imaginative exploration of contemporary misogyny and corporate control. It is also the story of two friends, their sisterly love and courage.
Charlotte Wood's extraordinary, bold, unsettling novel was published on the cusp of huge, damaging, startling revelations about masculine power and sex. She joins us at the festival to talk about ... well, it's going to make you laugh when you find out.