Diane Marie Cook is a writer, and author of the book The New Wilderness.
Diane Cook’s The New Wilderness (Harper, 2020) is a poignant portrait of a mother and daughter fleeing the polluted cities of a near-future dystopia for a hand-to-mouth existence in the country’s last undeveloped tract. It’s also one of the unusual works of speculative fiction that’s been embraced by the world of high literature by (just this week) reaching the final round of the prestigious Booker Prize.Although Cook has lived mostly in cities, she loves spending time in nature and wrote some of The New Wilderness while trekking across the high desert of Oregon.“There is something about the expansiveness of lands that are empty that make my imagination feel a lot freer than it usually does in a city,” she says.For Cook’s protagonist Bea, the Wilderness State offers the only hope for saving the life of her 5-year-old daughter, Agnes. But as Agnes’ lungs heal from the city’s smog, her relationship with her mother grows strained, suffering rifts that might be typical for a mother and daughter but are magnified by the strain of having to invent a nomadic way of life in a remorseless expanse.“The Wilderness State is this very extreme place and this very extreme situation so it pushes everyone to a very extreme version of how they would normally be,” Cook says.Rob Wolf is the host of New Books in Science Fiction and the author of The Alternate Universe and The Escape.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Diane Cook is the guest. Her debut story collection, Man V. Nature, is available now from Harper Books. Tea Obreht says "Man V. Nature is as close to experiencing a Picasso as literature can get: the worlds in Diane Cook’s impressive debut are bizarre, vertiginous, funny, pushed to the extreme-but just familiar enough in their nuances of the human condition to evoke an irresistible, around-the-corner reality.” And the Boston Globe says “Here’s a good rule: If Diane Cook wrote it, read it…Safety is tenuous, if not an illusion, in her thoughtful, unsettling, and darkly funny collection.” Monologue topics: Kathleen Hale, Blythe Harris, don't feed trolls, Goodreads, stalking. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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1 hour, 56 minutes
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