The Natural Way Of Things by Charlotte Wood is a multi-layered novel with many complex and well-developed characters. It begins as a mesmerizing tale of women in captivity. How did they get there? Who are their captors? Why were they selected for capture and extended confinement? The reader will be immediately presented with all these questions. Some will be answered as details are presented slowly and in an obscure manner as a tale of survival unfolds. Questions about some of the captives’ backgrounds will only be answered by reader imagination. This tale of captivity, survival, and human cruelty is a modern-day horror story.
The number of characters is large. Charlotte Wood develops each character to illustrate a set of human frailties. How will each character react to extreme, life-threatening adversity? Will each character be able to appreciate her own change? The changes come about primarily to the women captives although there is one female captor as well as two males. The female captor character is well developed, the two males less so. Looking at the characters, we have: