Book excerpt: “Birnam Wood” by Eleanor Catton


Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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Eleanor Catton’s “Birnam Wood” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), the most current novel by the Booker Prize-winning author of “The Luminaries,” is a thriller established in New Zealand pitting radical environmentalists and a scheming billionaire.

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“Birnam Wood” by Eleanor Catton (Hardcover)

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Mira’s initial considered, on coming house to the empty flat, experienced been that Shelley had eventually done it: packed up all her matters and still left, without the need of warning, and without the need of a notice. Right after calling Shelley’s identify and hearing no reply, she experienced stood in the open doorway for various seconds, reconciling herself to the new though lengthy-anticipated fact of Shelley being gone – right before her eyesight clarified and she saw that Shelley’s bike was still in the laundry, and her shoes were being even now piled beneath the radiator, and her beloved bomber jacket was however hanging on its coat hook in the hall. Emotion foolish, Mira unexpectedly revised her believed to marvel, instead, if some sudden unexpected emergency had taken Shelley from the residence … But if that were the case, then wouldn’t she have known as – or texted, at the very least?

She remembered quickly the site tracker app that they had each set up some months back, and never ever made use of. She got out her cellphone to examine if the relationship was nonetheless lively, but in the short time it took for the machine to fetch Shelley’s knowledge from no matter what configuration of satellites and area masts had been coordinating her place, she grew ashamed of the intrusion, and exited the map in advance of it absolutely loaded, reproaching herself that it was no speculate Shelley had been feeling smothered, and wondering, not for the very first time, when precisely she experienced become so technologically dependent that her first instinct in each unpredicted circumstance was to outsource her creativity to her cellular phone.

Two months had passed since she experienced very first divined that Shelley wished out of Birnam Wooden, and for two weeks she experienced been paralysed by the identical mute and stricken helplessness that she had felt when her mother and father 1st announced their separation – chiding herself, as she experienced then, that at her age and point out of independence it was absurd that she should really feel so childishly forsaken, and so unhappy.

Excerpted from “Birnam Wood” by Eleanor Catton. Posted by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Copyright © 2023 by Eleanor Catton. All rights reserved.

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“Birnam Wooden” by Eleanor Catton (Hardcover)

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