“The Vaster Wilds” By Lauren Groff

(Novel, 2023)

In the recently discovered lands of the New Country, a girl makes her way through the untouched, unsettled wilderness of the northeast. She’s left a starving fort for what she thinks is a more promising journey northward, in a land unknown and only just waking from winter. We marvel at her simple ingenuity for survival and her spiritual exploration, where suffering and gratitude bring her to a new understanding of god. Most of all, the reader relishes in the descriptions of landscape, frosts we can taste, clouds we can smell, darts of sunlight we can feel on our face. We feel the rustle of spring beneath the retreating blanket of winter and long to find the same, inevitable relief of nature. Even as we witness this girl trying to out-trudge death, we are reminded of the precious wonders of life. Groff weaves sentences like fine silken threads of comprehension and sensation in this incredible story of fortitude and reflection.  

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