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The Word for Woman is Wilderness

by Abi Andrews

Debut Books of the Month Debuts Literary Fiction Modern and Contemporary Fiction Sharing Diverse Voices

LoveReading View on The Word for Woman is Wilderness

An eye-opening novel that feels like a blistering, witty, understanding-of-self travel diary, and an insight into 19 year old Erin’s soul. Erin travels around the top of the globe to Alaska, as she wants to burst the image of the rugged male explorer. I saw the synopsis for The Word For Woman is Wilderness and just had to read it as I’ve been to Alaska, and read various books set there, including Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer, based on the true story of a traveler who died while trying to live off the land. Erin has read the same books, feels the same pull by the wilderness, and she has been written so beautifully by Abi Andrews that she slipped into a state of reality in my mind. I adored travelling with Erin, she took me to familiar and sometimes entirely unexpected places. It took me a little while to settle in and feel the words, the pace, the tone. I was surprised by her observations, so pithy, so huge, so spot on, it feels at times as though her thoughts have been bottled, shaken, and then explode out of her. The Word for Woman is Wilderness is a beautifully surprising, clever, startling novel and I adored it. 

Visit our 'Women's Words - 60+ works of feminist-minded fiction' to explore our collection of feminist-minded fiction from around the world, and across centuries.

Liz Robinson

The Word for Woman is Wilderness Synopsis

Erin is 19. She's never really left England, but she has watched Bear Grylls and wonders why it's always men who get to go on all the cool wilderness adventures. So Erin sets off on a voyage into the Alaskan wilderness, a one-woman challenge to the archetype of the rugged male explorer. As Erin's journey takes her through the Arctic Circle, across the entire breadth of the American continent and finally to a lonely cabin in the wilds of Denali, she explores subjects as diverse as the moon landings, the Gaia hypothesis, loneliness, nuclear war, shamanism and the pill. Filled with a sense of wonder for the natural world and a fierce love for preserving it, The Word for Woman is Wilderness is a funny, frank and tender account of a young woman in uncharted territory.

The Word for Woman is Wilderness Press Reviews

The Word for Woman Is Wilderness is unlike any published work I have read ... rises to its own challenges in engaging intellectually as well as wholeheartedly with its questions about gender, genre and the concept of wilderness -- Sarah Moss - Guardian

A wide wild world comes surging out of this book, flooding the space you sit in with an energy and a vastness of scope that dazzles and daunts and exhilarates. It is a quiet, sardonic, funny, fluid text, a visionary book, that shows us the future is in fact already here. - Caught by the River

A gripping feminist reimagining of Into the Wild. - Elle

Refreshing and funny and unlike anything else. I feel as if I've been waiting for this book for a long time -- Daisy Johnson, Booker Prize-longlisted author of Everything Under Clever, funny and thoughtful -- Will Ashon, author of Strange Labyrinth A thinking woman's adventure story ... [Andrews' prose has] grace and reflection ... beautiful, thoughtful, and often humorous. -- Lucy Scholes - The National

Erin is a captivating heroine - funny, feminist and intensely curious, she riffs on Bear Grylls, the beauty of the natural world and the contraceptive pill as she makes her way to a tiny cabin in desolate Denali ... brilliant. - Daily Mail

A hopeful and challenging account of a young woman in uncharted territory ... The many-coloured themes and ideas in the book are themselves painted on complex and overlapping canvases - of feminism, in an age of wilderness, but a wilderness that has been warped as it becomes embedded in the Anthropocene ... The Word for Woman is Wilderness is filled with humour and seriousness; interweaving ideas that in many other books would have a hard time sitting together, and then making that non-dualism part of the purpose of the book. It asks us to rewild not just our landscapes, but our words and ways of thinking about nature and so many other things. - Ecologist

A varied, funny, and important novel for our times - Helsinki Book Review

Sometimes, the greatest stories are the ones that generate inspiration beyond our wildest imagination ... this is an inspiring account of the unprecedented change to the social norms of young women in uncharted territory - Wired for Adventure

A good book is one that makes you think about your own life. A great book is one that challenges your thinking. But it is a truly remarkable book that changes how you think, and The Word for Woman is Wilderness had that effect on me. I can't give it higher praise than that - Bookmunch

Uplifting, with a thirsty curiosity, the writing is playful and exuberant. Riffing on feminist ideas but unlimited in scope, Andrews focuses our attention on our beautiful, doomed planet, and the astonishing things we have yet to discover. -- Ruth McKee - Irish Times

This book is a feminist, millennial manifesto about reclaiming the wilderness. Andrews' debut novel follows a 19-year-old girl on a feminist expedition in the footsteps of Chris McCandless, and is told in such a self-conscious, clever and amusing way that I haven't stopped thinking about it since - Cardiff Review

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781781259092
Publication date: 07/02/2019
Publisher: Serpent's Tail an imprint of Profile Books Ltd
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781781259078
Publication date: 01/02/2018
Publisher: Serpent's Tail an imprint of Profile Books Ltd
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781781259092
Publication date: 7th February 2019
Author: Abi Andrews
Publisher: Serpent's Tail an imprint of Profile Books Ltd
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 320 pages
Genres: Debuts of the Month, Debuts, Literary Fiction, Modern and Contemporary Fiction, Diverse Voices,
Collections: 60+ works of feminist-minded fiction - Women’s Words,
Categories: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945),

About Abi Andrews

Abi Andrews is a writer from the Midlands. She studied at Goldsmiths college, and her work has been published in Five Dials, Caught by the River, The Clearing, The Dark Mountain Project, Tender and other journals, along with a pamphlet published with Goldsmiths Shorts. Her debut novel The Word for Woman is Wilderness was published by Serpent's Tail in February 2018 and Hoffmann und Campe in October 2018.

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