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We Went to the Woods: A Novel de Caite…
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We Went to the Woods: A Novel (edição: 2019)

de Caite Dolan-Leach (Autor)

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567365,147 (3.21)1
They went off the grid. Their secrets didn't. For readers of The Secret History and The Immortalists comes a novel about the allure--and dangers--of disconnecting. "A sharp, spellbinding cautionary tale, one that reminds us that even those who do remember the past might also wind up repeating it."--NPR Certain that society is on the verge of economic and environmental collapse, five disillusioned twenty-somethings make a bold decision: They gather in upstate New York to transform an abandoned farm, once the site of a turn-of-the-century socialist commune, into an idyllic self-sustaining compound called the Homestead. Mack, a publicly disgraced grad-school dropout, believes it's her calling to write their story. She immediately falls in love with all four friends, seduced by their charisma and grand plans--and deeply attracted to their secrets. But it proves difficult for Mack to uncover the truth about their nightly disappearances and complicated loyalties, especially since she is protecting her own past. Initially exhilarated by restoring the rustic dwellings, planting a garden, and learning the secrets of fermentation, the group is soon divided by intense romantic and sexual relationships, jealousies, slights and suspicions. And as winter settles in, their experiment begins to feel not only misguided, but deeply isolating and dangerous. Caite Dolan-Leach spins a poignant and deeply human tale with sharp insights into our modern anxieties, our collective failures, and the timeless desire to withdraw from the world. Praise for We Went to the Woods "We Went to the Woods is a chillingly cautionary tale for the twenty-first century, an enthralling story of failed nobility and the consequences of trying to escape from a world that will never let you go. Caite Dolan-Leach's prose is both nimble and elegantly evocative, leading the reader through the idyllic pastures and deadly pitfalls of a rustic experiment gone wrong. As five hopeful idealists try to live off the land, the reader sees their friendships blossom, and yet we hardly dare look, knowing as the seasons turn that something even darker than winter is on its way."--Christopher J. Yates, author of Grist Mill Road and Black Chalk… (mais)
Membro:stephvin
Título:We Went to the Woods: A Novel
Autores:Caite Dolan-Leach (Autor)
Informação:Random House (2019), Edition: 1st Edition, 368 pages
Coleções:last night in twisted river
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Etiquetas:Nenhum(a)

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We Went to the Woods de Caite Dolan-Leach

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Mostrando 1-5 de 7 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
3.5 stars. Hipster millennials trying to make a go of it on a homestead? I’d have left within days. I do appreciate how her first book reached a pinky (too soon, Mack?) out to this one, showing they occurred in the same universe at the same time. ( )
  amandanan | Jun 6, 2020 |
Thanks to NetGalley for an ARC of We Went to the Woods by Caite Dolan-Leach in exchange for an honest review.
First - the good: This novel was beautifully written, with a fair amount of character development. I could feel the grittiness of the earth, the commune, the fragile relationships. I could feel the ease as well as the tension as they navigated through life on the Homestead.
Now - the bad: I could not wait for this novel to end. I just wanted it to be over! It took forever to get to the point, and to the climax of the story. I nearly did not finish this novel, but I felt that I had to since I was given an ARC. To me, the story just dragged on and on and on.
The story is about 5 millennials who are disillusioned with the world and the corporate impact on the environment. They are adamant about preserving the earth for future generations. They are all from well-to-do families, except for Mack (Mackenzie) who is a struggling former PhD candidate (anthropology) who had an unfortunate and embarrassing moment on reality television. Of course, I didn't think it was so bad that it warranted all the attention - plus it took a long time for that incident to be revealed. Plus, there is a seedy undertone to the entire commune experience that comes to light late in the book.
I feel as if this was not the book for me. I like more action, and I felt like I was watching paint dry. This just didn't do it for me.
#WeWenttotheWoods #CaiteDolanLeach #NetGalley ( )
  rmarcin | Sep 23, 2019 |
This review can also be found on my blog.
disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for review consideration. All of the opinions presented below are my own. All quotes have been taken from the advanced copy and are subject to change upon publication.

We Went to the Woods is a quietly intense novel following five not-quite-yet adults as they leave the comforts of the modern world to create a commune of sorts in upstate New York. All are there for different reasons but the narrator of the novel, Mack, is attempting to escape her infamy after a very public experiment goes awry. While the threads of a mystery are woven throughout, this is very much not a thriller; the focus is held much more deeply on the characters and their relationships and introspections than on the plot itself.

Even if most of my days felt useless, days where I came home with some cash felt like they hadn’t been entirely wasted. This depressed me, this feeling that my life mattered only as it was measured out in paper dollars.

Mack herself is quite relatable in some ways: she has fallen into this tightly knit friend group and feels more like an outsider than anything else. As readers, we are not privy to the ins and outs of the four other characters and must slowly figure them out alongside Mack. There is a strong element of voyeurism to this and it was difficult not to be torn between wanting things to settle down and wanting to watch the drama unfurling.

Could I learn to live? The clouds opened up and I let them drench me, waiting to feel something. The intensity I wanted seemed close, attainable -- the chill I felt out here and the coziness I would feel inside, with them? Was that what I hoped for? The distance between two feelings?

I found the parallels drawn between past and present to be quite interesting. Mack begins researching older communities that had struck out from society at large in similar ways. It seems obvious that humanity keeps making the same mistakes rather than learning from those who came before them. Even when drawing comparisons to the Collective, another nearby commune, this much is obvious. Whilst Mack’s group has struck out alone in an effort to avoid existing groups and their mistakes, this means they simply turn around and make their own.

But action is not something that has ever come easily to me; I wait for others’ decisiveness, not choosing for myself. Never recognizing that my passivity, too, is a choice.

There is a lot to be said about the portrayal of sexuality in this novel, and I’m intrigued to see what others have gotten from it. It is clear that Mack’s draw to the others in the group is firmly rooted in the erotic tension they all share. This is something that Mack herself focuses heavily on, literally obsessed with the physical relationships between each of them. There seems to be little delineation as far as gender or sexual orientation goes and most of the focus is on “free love” though it is clear that not all of the characters enjoy participating in non-monogamy. Indeed, it’s clear that any lack of boundaries is more forced than natural, particularly as secret upon secret is slowly unearthed.

But then, how can one small group of committed individuals hope to alter a whole society bent on injustice?

As much as I enjoyed the novel, there were some aspects that I felt could have been handled better. For one, Mack’s infamy is a point of interest throughout the book that I felt was played up a bit too much. It is quite some time before the reader finds out what had happened and in my opinion, the eventual reveal was quite anticlimactic. It felt heavy-handed and clunky in the moment and I felt it could have been woven in better. Aside from that, the reason itself just confused me. Sure, what Mack did was terrible, but I was expecting something so much worse and felt let down by what had promised to be a major confession. Where Mack ends up in the end also irritated me and seemed like a throwaway, but that’s something I can’t get into without spoilers.

“That is the saddest thing I’ve ever heard,” Jack said, musing. “The idea that you don’t have a home inside your own head. That breaks my heart.”

Speaking of which, what an ending it was! While the tension slowly builds throughout the novel and a climax is strongly alluded to (there are a lot of “had I known what I was coming…” reflections), I was still unprepared for where it led. Again this is difficult to discuss without spoilers, but I’d compare Caite Dolan-Leach’s writing to a well-done score: it is easy not to realize how much it is impacting you until you realize you are taut with anxiety and all hell is about to break loose.

“Do you think it’s because of the pesticides?” I asked finally. “I think it’s because of the whole damn world, Wee Mack. There’s nowhere to get away from the poison.”

Anyway, yeah this is a doozy of a read. I wasn’t sure what to think of it as I progressed but I have to say that the last act really cemented things for me. I was actually racing through the pages and dreaded the idea of not finishing before I would have to put it down. There’s much more to think about than what I touched on here, and even what I discussed could be analyzed at great length. I’m really interested in seeing what others have gotten out of this, and definitely recommend it if you’re looking for a slower, more intense read. ( )
  samesfoley | Aug 13, 2019 |
Thanks to the publisher, Random House, via NetGalley, for an e-review copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

This is an up-to-date version of a commune with five young adults wanting to live off the land and forsake the world as it is today. Mainly they were protesting Corporate America, the 2016 Presidential election results, and the usual things many young privileged people decide to abandon because they have never wanted for anything and have no idea what hardship is.

The protagonist is Mack, a Ph.D. candidate in Anthropology who narrates. She is trying to hide from social media because of a blunder of her own making while participating on a reality show. The blunder was constantly referred to but we had no idea what she did until half-way though the novel. By that time, I didn't care. I was also getting tired of the endless descriptions of clearing land, planting crops, rationing their food, bad weather, etc.

There were too many story lines and secrets among the five residents and members of another group of people with the same lifestyle living a few miles away. It was a slow read and hard for me to understand their morals with swapping bed partners, revenge against a neighboring farmer, and sexual abuse of young girls. I didn't like any of the undeveloped characters. Sorry I can't give this novel more than 2 Stars. ( )
  pegmcdaniel | Jul 21, 2019 |
I didn't get very far into this before putting it down. It's an implausible story of an implausible deathbed confession told by a writer who needs to work very hard on dialogue.

I received a review copy of "We Went to the Woods" by Caite Dolan-Leach directly from Random House through NetGalley.com. ( )
  Dokfintong | Jul 4, 2019 |
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They went off the grid. Their secrets didn't. For readers of The Secret History and The Immortalists comes a novel about the allure--and dangers--of disconnecting. "A sharp, spellbinding cautionary tale, one that reminds us that even those who do remember the past might also wind up repeating it."--NPR Certain that society is on the verge of economic and environmental collapse, five disillusioned twenty-somethings make a bold decision: They gather in upstate New York to transform an abandoned farm, once the site of a turn-of-the-century socialist commune, into an idyllic self-sustaining compound called the Homestead. Mack, a publicly disgraced grad-school dropout, believes it's her calling to write their story. She immediately falls in love with all four friends, seduced by their charisma and grand plans--and deeply attracted to their secrets. But it proves difficult for Mack to uncover the truth about their nightly disappearances and complicated loyalties, especially since she is protecting her own past. Initially exhilarated by restoring the rustic dwellings, planting a garden, and learning the secrets of fermentation, the group is soon divided by intense romantic and sexual relationships, jealousies, slights and suspicions. And as winter settles in, their experiment begins to feel not only misguided, but deeply isolating and dangerous. Caite Dolan-Leach spins a poignant and deeply human tale with sharp insights into our modern anxieties, our collective failures, and the timeless desire to withdraw from the world. Praise for We Went to the Woods "We Went to the Woods is a chillingly cautionary tale for the twenty-first century, an enthralling story of failed nobility and the consequences of trying to escape from a world that will never let you go. Caite Dolan-Leach's prose is both nimble and elegantly evocative, leading the reader through the idyllic pastures and deadly pitfalls of a rustic experiment gone wrong. As five hopeful idealists try to live off the land, the reader sees their friendships blossom, and yet we hardly dare look, knowing as the seasons turn that something even darker than winter is on its way."--Christopher J. Yates, author of Grist Mill Road and Black Chalk

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