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Into the Forest by [Hegland, Jean]
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Into the Forest Kindle Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 106 customer reviews

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Product Description

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Jean Hegland's prose in Into the Forest is as breathtaking as one of the musty, ancient redwoods that share the woodland with Nell and Eva, two sisters who must learn to live in harmony with the northern California forest when the electricity shuts off, the phones go out, their parents die, and all civilization beyond them seems to grind to a halt. At first, the girls rely on stores of food left in their parents' pantry, but when those supplies begin to dwindle, their only option is to turn to each other and the forest's plants and animals for friendship, courage, and sustenance. Into the Forest, an apocalyptic coming-of-age story, will fill readers (both teens and adults) with a profound sense of the human spirit's strength and beauty.

From Publishers Weekly

Hegland's powerfully imagined first novel will make readers thankful for telephones and CD players while it underscores the vulnerability of lives dependent on technology. The tale is set in the near future: electricity has failed, mail delivery has stopped and looting and violence have destroyed civil order. In Northern California, 32 miles from the closest town, two orphaned teenage sisters ration a dwindling supply of tea bags and infested cornmeal. They remember their mother's warnings about the nearby forest, but as the crisis deepens, bears and wild pigs start to seem less dangerous than humans. From the first page, the sense of crisis and the lucid, honest voice of the 17-year-old narrator pull the reader in, and the fight for survival adds an urgent edge to her coming-of-age story. Flashbacks smartly create a portrait of the lost family: an iconoclastic father, artistic mother and two independent daughters. The plot draws readers along at the same time that the details and vivid writing encourage rereading. Eating a hot dog starts with "the pillowy give of the bun," and the winter rains are "great silver needles stitching the dull sky to the sodden earth." If sometimes the lyricism goes a little too far, this is still a truly admirable addition to a genre defined by the very high standards of George Orwell's 1984 and Russell Hoban's Ridley Walker.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2895 KB
  • Print Length: 241 pages
  • Publisher: The Dial Press; Reprint edition (Dec 18 2009)
  • Sold by: Random House Canada, Incorp.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00317G71K
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 106 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #8,470 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I discovered this book by accident and am so glad I did. These two sisters were believable characters and the voice of the narrator pulled me along, creating a real and plausible world, one that felt familiar and even a little too close for comfort. I barely put the book down. Looking forward to reading more from this author!
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Format: Paperback
This is a beautifully written book about two teenaged sisters who are left to fend for themselves after surviving the death of both parents.
The older sister Nell paints a lovely portrait of a family who live by their own rules, on a large plot of land 30 miles from the nearest town. The girls have a free range education at home, roaming the forest, following their own interests until slowly things begin to change. A series of events leaves the girls stranded on their homestead, surviving on dwindling stores, and no contact with the outside world.

As soon as I began reading this story, I was struck by how easily this could happen. All of the events felt real and possible. Our world seems very close to unraveling and this book brought immediately to my attention just how easily things could go awry. I asked myself if I have the skills and knowledge to survive in a world without electricity, access to food, heat, water, communication etc. Sadly, the answer is probably no. It was inspiring to read about how these girls learned to survive and at the same time deal with the extreme grief and loss of not only their family, but life as they knew it, their hopes and dreams. I found the choices they made at the end a little bit strange but it did not ruin the beauty of the story for me. 4.5 Stars.
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Format: Paperback
This is a wonderful book. I am not prone to crying while reading a novel, but Hegland brings the characters so close to you, that I felt I was suffering with them. This is a novel that encourages you to preserve and cherish the natural world ...including yourself and your loved ones. And it reminds you that we are certainly overlooking the really beautiful and fundamental gifts from nature to grab at unnecessary things in this so-called civilization in which we live. This novel makes you want to turn inward, disconnect your phone, and absorb all the preserved knowledge that you can ingest. It made me want to fast on 'white tea' ... just to remind myself. And it reminds the reader that nations can come and go, but mankind is much stronger and far more beautiful when pressed to accept his true nature. For instance, Eva's civilized and refined dancer's stamina pales and appears weak in comparison to her endurance of pain during childbirth. As Eva groans against the violent pain, Nell thinks ... "They are sounds that move the earth, the sounds that give voice to the deep, violent fissures in the bark of the redwoods. They are the sounds of splitting cells, of bonding atoms, the sounds of the waxing moon and the forming stars".
I don't think readers should get caught up in the 'feminist' aspect or the 'plausibility of plot' concept. I think that even a man could see himself through Nell's view of the world. And I believe that the framework of the plot just serves as a springboard for exploring the human experience in a certain light. I hated to finish the book because I felt that I was losing a friend or at least moving away from home. Beautiful work!
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By A Customer on April 5 2004
Format: Paperback
In response to a previous reviewer who reviewed, um, previous reviews: the electricity in the book, and you'll understand this when you read it, does not go off all at once. It goes in and out; the girls' family live on acreage in a nice house out in the sticks. They don't live in town, which actually bodes better for their survival. They hadn't been to school and had thusly been educated by their parents and themselves. They knew how to grow food and preserve it; they knew how to build crude structures; they knew how to ID plants. How many of us know those things?
Anyway, the power. It's never reliable, and as illness and political unrest abroad make the infrastructure in the US more shaky, life becomes more primitive. Backup systems aren't designed to run forever; things can't get fixed if the workforce is decimated by antibiotic-resistant infections.
I thought this was an excellent, spookily prescient book. Reading it again really makes me think -- the troubles Eva and Nell face in their world come about by a war fought far away, coincidentally compounded by illness and domestic terrorism. If you think it couldn't happen here, in this day and age, I believe you're wrong. I'm not saying it will... I'm just saying it could.
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Format: Paperback
At first sight you could call this a SF novel with the classical ingredients. Something happened: a nuclear war? an accident with a biological weapon? Anyway it seems that public live has ceased to exist. There is no electricity, no TV or radio and everyone seems to have gone.
Two young sisters, who lost their parents, live in a cottage deep in the woods of North-California. As a result of what happened they're cut off completely until one day a young man comes to their house and he stays for a while. After he's gone, the two sisters gradually change into a more 'primitive' way of life with a different perception (more elaborated as time goes by) of their surroundings. (To some degree, it reminds me of the novel 'Lord of the Flies' by William Golding).
But when you think it over, you could say it's a parable about growing up. The arrival of the young man drives them out of the 'Paradise' of their childhood and this starts the process of growing up. They don't turn into 'primitive' humans, they only lose their innocence. They become more mature and finally venture out of their cottage where they used to live for so long.
I wouldn't be surprised if there were other interpretations. It's a characteristic of masterworks to be interpreted in different ways.
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