The New Wilderness

Pages: 416
Subject: Fiction
Imprint: Oneworld

The New Wilderness

Diane Cook

A passionate, tender and terrifying story of a mother's fight to protect her daughter 
9781786078216 (6 Aug 2020)
RRP £14.99

The Book

Bea's five-year-old daughter, Agnes, is wasting away, ravaged by the smog and pollution of the overdeveloped, overpopulated metropolis they call home. Bea knows she cannot stay in the city, but there is only one alternative: The Wilderness State. This vast expanse of unwelcoming, untamed land is untouched by mankind. Until now. 

Somewhere between a science experiment and a refugee, Bea and Agnes slowly learn how to live in this unpredictable, often dangerous land. But as Agnes embraces this radically free new existence, Bea realises that her bond with her daughter will be tested in ways she could never have foreseen.

At once a blazing lament of our contempt for nature and a deeply humane portrayal of motherhood, The New Wilderness is an extraordinary, urgent novel.

Additional Information

Subject Fiction
Pages 416
Imprint Oneworld


About the Author

Diane Cook is a novelist and short story writer. Her collection, Man v. Nature (Oneworld, 2015), was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and the L.A. Times Book Prize. Her stories have appeared in Harper's, Tin House and Granta, and been anthologised in Best American Short Stories. She lives in Brooklyn.


'The New Wilderness left me as stunned as a deer in headlights. Gut-wrenching and heart-wrecking, this is a book that demands to be read, and urgently. With beauty and compassion, Diane Cook writes about the precariousness of life on this planet, about the things that make us human — foremost the love between mothers and daughters, at once complex and elemental. Cook observes humanity as a zoologist might — seeing us exactly as the strange animals we really are.'

- Rachel Khong, author of Goodbye, Vitamin

‘Cook's is a fresh and vivid voice; it's unsurprising the likes of Miranda July and Roxane Gay are fans.'

- Observer

'Diane Cook upends old tropes of autonomy, survival, and civilization to reveal startling new life teeming beneath, giving a glimpse into the ways the world we think we know could come unstuck and come to life in the care of the women and girls of the future. This is not just a thrilling, curious, vibrant book — but an essential one, a compass to guide us into the future.'

- Alexandra Kleeman, author of You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine

‘As close to experiencing a Picasso as literature can get.'

- Téa Obrecht, author of Inland (on Man v. Nature)

‘Cook is an accomplished writer with a darkly comic touch.'

- Irish Times

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