Author: Caite Dolan-Leach
Genre: Literary Fiction
Publisher: Random House
Published: July 2, 2019
Book Description: 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.
Rating: 2 1/2 stars
Review: Let me start by saying that I was so excited to receive an ARC of this book as I absolutely loved Dead Letters, Dolan-Leach’s debut. When I started this book, I had the highest of hopes but as this story dragged on, I wanted this just to end.
This book centers around Mack, who was a post-doc student who got kicked out, after a bad decision when she was on a reality tv show. She is at a point of her life where she does not know what to do. She is asked to participate in a collective with 4 other people, and she decides this is just what she needs.
They Went to the Woods spends the majority of the time discussing about the collective and how it is set up. It does have a few elements that kind of keep it interesting, like when they decide to sue their neighbors for utilizing pesticides that is bleeding over to their property. It leads to strange things happening which they believe is due the the lawsuit.
Overall, I felt this book was utterly dull. If you want to learn more about farming and not much else, then this book is for you. By the time the author tried to perpetuate the story (which felt like the last 15%), it was way to late. I was personally over it.
Thank you NetGalley and Random House for an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book for an honest review.