A Terrifying Literary Dystopia: Read Our Review of The Last Woman in the World by Inga Simpson

A Terrifying Literary Dystopia: Read Our Review of The Last Woman in the World by Inga Simpson

It’s night, and the walls of Rachel’s home creak as they settle into darkness. Fear of other people has led her to a reclusive life as far from them as possible, her only occasional contact is her sister and her friend, Mia.

A hammering on the door. There stands a mother, Hannah, and her sick baby. They are running for their lives from a mysterious death sweeping the Australian countryside – so soon, too soon, after everything.

Now Rachel must face her worst fears to help Hannah, search for her sister, and discover just what terror was born of us… and how to survive it.

Inga Simpson is an award-winning Australian novelist and nature writer who writes fiction, non-fiction and children’s books. Her 2014 novel, Nest, was longlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award and the Stella Prize and shortlisted for the ALS Gold Medal. Her works often incorporate environmental themes, examining the natural world and our relationship with it. Her latest book, The Last Woman in the World, continues to examine these themes but unlike her previous literary novels, this resembles a work of literary horror in the vein of Birdbox and A Quiet Place.

In The Last Woman in the World, Simpson envisages a near-future Australia that is affected by bushfires, pandemics and climate disasters. If you think this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. Through vivid prose and evocative imagery, Simpson offers readers a bleak and unsettling look at our future, one that holds a mirror up to the world we live in today. When writing the first draft of The Last Woman, Simpson was evacuated twice from her home as bushfires engulfed the surrounding settlements, and it’s clear that she has drawn on that experience when crafting this story.

The novel follows Rachel, a woman hiding in a secluded house in the bush who is forced to re-enter the world when a woman and her sick baby turn up on her doorstep. Reluctantly, Rachel joins Hannah and Isaiah as they travel to Canberra in search of Hannah’s husband. As they undertake this journey, they are also fleeing the ominous ‘they,’ the unknown entity that is causing the plague. It’s a lot for one woman to take on, especially someone who has spent years trying to hide away from the world, yet Rachel is a fascinating protagonist whose transformation from recluse to survivor is wonderfully depicted here.

Intelligently written and extremely timely, The Last Woman in the World is both an edge-of-seat literary thriller and a powerful lament to our natural world. This is an absolute must-read.

Buy a copy of The Last Woman in the World here.

Reviews

Powerful and Unsettling: Read an Extract from The Last Woman in the World by Inga Simpson

Review | Extract

11 November 2021

Powerful and Unsettling: Read an Extract from The Last Woman in the World by Inga Simpson

    Publisher details

    The Last Woman in the World
    Author
    Inga Simpson
    Publisher
    Hachette
    Genre
    Fiction
    Released
    27 October, 2021
    ISBN
    9780733643491

    Synopsis

    It's night, and the walls of Rachel's home creak as they settle into the cover of darkness. Fear has led her to a reclusive life on the land, her only occasional contact with her sister.

    A hammering on the door. There stands a mother, Hannah, with a sick baby. They are running for their lives from a mysterious death sweeping the Australian countryside.

    Now Rachel must face her worst fears: should she take up the fight to help these strangers survive in a society she has rejected for so long?

    Inga Simpson
    About the author

    Inga Simpson

    Inga Simpson began her career as a professional writer for government before gaining a PhD in creative writing. In 2011, she took part in the Queensland Writers' Centre Manuscript Development Program and as a result, Hachette published her first novel, the acclaimed Mr Wigg, in 2013.

    Books by Inga Simpson

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    1. Bronwyn Low says:

      Absolutely loved this book. So well written. The descriptions of Rachel’s journey are spot on. I lived in Canberra for almost 30 years and raised my children there. The story is horrifying but also full of hope. I would highly recommend this book.