n immersive trip through Southern Gothic Early America. The narrative follows a lone girl down the Potomac River, from Jamestown and into the unknown. Nameless or many-named like a barn-cat drifter, Girl wields caution, imagination and a blade to survive the crystalline forests of Virginia and Maryland. She drafts off a peloton of memories–as the British orphan, the mistress’s servant, Bess’s friend, the glassblower’s lover—that pull her forward to eat dirt and vibe with a bear in the present. It’s all about the stories that keep us alive. Groff’s easy and percussive writing, along with her use of time, space and inner dialogue, create an immediacy that had me trying to locate Girl’s coordinates on a map so I wouldn’t lose her. Captivating. Awesome. Great.
The Vaster Wilds by Lauren Groff, (List Price: $28, Riverhead Books, 9780593418390, September 2023)
Reviewed by Jackie Carlson, Tombolo Books in St Petersburg, Florida