The Vaster Wilds

Books on Tape. Sept. 2023. 7:06 hrs. ISBN 9780593788974. $76. F
Fleeing from a series of cruelties that culminate in a horrifying incident in her colonial U.S. settlement, a servant girl escapes into the harsh winter wilderness. Beyond the walls, she faces hunger, disease, and dangers the likes of which she cannot fathom, yet the true monsters are repeatedly revealed to be her fellow humans. With only faith to guide her on her frantic trek, she somehow adapts to the dense, unfamiliar forest surrounding her. Groff (Matrix) sets forth a harrowing, heartrending historical novel about the oft-glossed-over horrors of the early colonial United States. Groff’s intricate, atmospheric narrative and raw but lyrical writing style will leave listeners emotionally ravaged yet somehow energized. Narrator January LaVoy meets the fraught, fast-paced tale head-on with an emotive and absorbing performance. Her portrayal invokes anguish, promise, and perseverance to create a listening experience that goes beyond engaging to exhilarating.
VERDICT This audio will appeal to listeners seeking haunting historical fiction about the complex, consequential realities of the human instinct for survival. Recommended for fans of Geraldine Brooks, Charles Frazier, and Jesmyn Ward.
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