Whether Violent or Natural
- Additional formats:
- Publication Date: June 27, 2023
- Imprint: The Overlook Press
- ISBN: 9781647008314
- Page Count: 256
- Rights: North American English
An unnerving, sinister, and brilliant dystopian novel about the choices we make at the end of the world, posing the question: Who can you trust when there’s almost no one left?
Years after complete antibiotic resistance has brought about global devastation, Kit ekes out an existence on a remote island alongside the taciturn Crevan, who has more recently fled the mainland. With once-curable diseases running riot, desperate measures are in place there: Those not yet infected are given experimental vaccines, and those for whom it’s already too late are culled. But Kit and Crevan are safe, protected on their island by a collapsing castle that holds a greenhouse and a well-stocked bunker within its ruins.
When a woman washes ashore—near drowned but clinging to life—the question of her fate threatens the fragile balance of Kit and Crevan’s isolated world. While Crevan wants to keep her alive, Kit isn’t so sure. And there’s more to wrestle with: Kit and Crevan each have secrets—secrets they have been keeping both from each other and from themselves. As the crisis brought about by the drowned woman’s appearance consumes them, the fictions of their shared existence crumble, and the truth begins to emerge.
Whether Violent or Natural is a startlingly original and thrilling novel for readers of Susanna Clarke’s Piranesi, Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle, and Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven. In the tenseness of its plotting, the gradual unfolding of truth, and in the strange and gripping intensity of its narrator’s voice, Whether Violent or Natural is an intelligent, unputdownable novel that welcomes a huge new talent to the genre.
“Tantalizing prose carries what is essentially a cautionary tale about unintended consequences; Calder is worth watching.”Kirkus Reviews —
“Sly, sharp, and utterly captivating, Whether Violent or Natural tumbles headlong toward its surprising—yet inevitable—end. Calder’s voice is one I won’t soon forget.”Rory Power, New York Times bestselling author of Wilder Girls —
“Whether Violent or Natural hits you like a shot of the very good stuff—which it is. I downed it in one. It went down very smoothly. There is—in all the right ways—a faint top-note of Iain Banks’s The Wasp Factory, but it’s very much its own dark-hearted, complex, and accomplished thing, with an engaging narrator as snarled in the seductive tangle of her own words as she is hemmed in by the overgrown vegetation that covers the small island on which she is trapped.”C. A. Fletcher, author of A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World —
“Experimental fiction . . . Calder tells a unique tale that will appeal to many cli-fi fans.”Library Journal —
About the author
Natasha Calder earned her degree in English from Trinity College Dublin and her master’s in medieval literature from Cambridge University. Her work has appeared in The Stinging Fly, Lackington’s, and Curiosities, among others, and she is coauthor of The Offset by Calder Szewczak. She is based in the UK. Whether Violent or Natural is her first solo novel.