Into the Forest

Into the Forest

Book - 1998
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NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE * Set in the near-future, Into the Forest is a powerfully imagined novel that focuses on the relationship between two teenage sisters living alone in their Northern California forest home.

Over 30 miles from the nearest town, and several miles away from their nearest neighbor, Nell and Eva struggle to survive as society begins to decay and collapse around them. No single event precedes society's fall. There is talk of a war overseas and upheaval in Congress, but it still comes as a shock when the electricity runs out and gas is nowhere to be found. The sisters consume the resources left in the house, waiting for the power to return. Their arrival into adulthood, however, forces them to reexamine their place in the world and their relationship to the land and each other.

Reminiscent of Margaret Atwood's A Handmaid's Tale, Into the Forest is a mesmerizing and thought-provoking novel of hope and despair set in a frighteningly plausible near-future America.

Praise for Into the Forest

"[A] beautifully written and often profoundly moving novel." -- San Francisco Chronicle

"A work of extraordinary power, insight and lyricism, Into the Forest is both an urgent warning and a passionate celebration of life and love." --Riane Eisler, author of The Chalice and the Blade

"From the first page, the sense of crisis and the lucid, honest voice of the . . . narrator pull the reader in. . . . A truly admirable addition to a genre defined by the very high standards of George Orwell's 1984." -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Beautifully written." -- Kirkus Reviews

"This beautifully written story captures the essential nature of the sister bond: the fierce struggle to be true to one's own self, only to learn that true strength comes from what they are able to share together." --Carol Saline, co-author of Sisters

"Jean Hegland's sense of character is firm, warm, and wise. . . . [A] fine first novel." --John Keeble, author of Yellowfish
Publisher: New York ; Toronto : Bantam Books, 1998, c1996
Edition: Bantam trade pbk. ed. --
ISBN: 9780553379617
Branch Call Number: FIC Hegla
Characteristics: 241 p


From the critics

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I watched this movie before reading the book. I thought the book might go into more detail about the circumstances surrounding the apocalyptic illnesses, etc. which cause these two sisters to become isolated in the Pacific Northwest. I thought there might be more insight into the sisters' decision to distance themselves even further from the remnants of modern society by making their home in a tree stump and living off roots and berries.
Did I gather anything more from the book? Did the story become more complete? Plausable? Fulfilling? NO!!!
Let me just start by saying that the book is written in the first person, in what is supposed to be journal entries. Sadly, the author's voice takes over beginning on page one. In fact, the whole book reads like a bunch of simplistic, cliche exercises one learned in a first-year university fiction writing class. The most glaring irritation in this book (which THANKFULLY the movie skipped over) was the sisters' passionate, incestuous incident which happens soon after one of the sisters is raped. I was wondering why the author was describing a massage session between the sisters for 2+ pages. I even began to skip paragraphs when all of a sudden they go all the way?! Where did that come from? Does the author believe incest to be the cure for trauma and rape? Sheesh!
There is a vaguely compelling and interesting plot here but it was ruined by the author (sorry). Also, (since this book was written in the 90's) if I have to read the words 'CD player' one more time I think I might explode.
Recommendation: SKIP this disturbing, unrealistic, sophomoric piece of trash.

Aug 16, 2016

Beautiful lyrical novel. Sometimes, while reading, the tears welling into eyes.
I did not really like some moments. I understand the author's purpose in those moments – to show sensuality, but it is, in my opinion, goes beyond of defined borders. Not wanting to put a spoiler - I will not talk about an episode in question.
The second half of the book is full of botany, anatomy, and physiology. It seems
this was the author's purpose - to show that we all come from the nature and we are all going back to her.
Shown the dependence of modern society to live on everything ready for consumerism: on pre packed, pre cooked, pre paid etc.
The ending I didn't like much: It seems that in order to start all over again, you need to destroy all past, all the knowledge accumulated for millennia, everything built with zeal.
If I am not mistaken, the first time the book was published in 1996. On the page 16 of this edition there is such phrase: "We heard the United States had a new president, and the she was arranging ..." "She" -? Curiously - prediction for present times?
There is a movie based on this book. I didn’t see it and I am not going to judge it. But I saw the trailer - and the house that is depicted in it - absolutely not what I imagine while reading. And the image of "house” plays an important role in this book.

Apr 26, 2016

One of the worst novels I have ever read. A poster child for the post-revolution back-to-the-woods movement. Sappy, sentimental, and suitable for preteen girls.

Mar 14, 2015

You might pick up this book thinking it is a post-apocalyptic novel about two sisters living in the woods following the collapse of society and how they survive -- but, surely, viewed that way, you will be disappointed. Instead, this book is really a mediation on loneliness, what survival means, self-sufficiency, and what from modern society we would take, if we could, while discarding the rest. You may not agree with the choices Nell and Eva make, but you will certainly think about how you might be prepared if everything you felt was important was lost in an instant.

Jul 15, 2014

I love this book and re-read it every couple of years. What pulls me in is the believability of it; when I was reading it the first time it was just a few months after 9/11, and I was in northern California, near the forests. Also, there was electricity failure in rolling blackouts caused by bad management of Pacific Gas & Electric. The two events, with their ongoing results, made for an emotionally realistic background for absorbing Hegland's story. As the girls' situation becomes increasingly dangerous and desperate, still there are small and large causes for one or the other of them to feel joy. But the reader can feel the center breaking ever farther and can't help but ask herself, "How would I cope in a similar circumstance?"

Jul 18, 2011

What they really needed was man around the house. Poorly written about 2 sisters who could barely eke out a living. Had a hard time completing this story.

Sep 20, 2010

Nell never knew just how much she consumed, until one day the lights went out in California. “Nothing lasts forever,” her sister Eva notes. As things turn from bad to worse, it’s only a can of gas that keeps Eva going. It reminds her of another way of life, which perhaps someday they can return to.

Now, only the forest offers the girls what they need. It teaches them how to live as people did for 100,000 years before Edison invented the lightbulb. Who needs a man, anyway?

You never know when a book might be your last. Enjoy this one by coal lamp!

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Jan 06, 2018

eplkaitlyn thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over


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