Julia Fine, author of What Should Be Wild
In this darkly funny, striking debut, a highly unusual young woman must venture into the woods at the edge of her home to remove a curse that has plagued the women in her family for millennia—an utterly original novel with all the mesmerizing power of The Tiger’s Wife, The Snow Child, and Swamplandia!
Cursed. Maisie Cothay has never known the feel of human flesh: born with the power to kill or resurrect at her slightest touch, she has spent her childhood sequestered in her family’s manor at the edge of a mysterious forest. Maisie’s father, an anthropologist who sees her as more experiment than daughter, has warned Maisie not to venture into the wood. Locals talk of men disappearing within, emerging with addled minds and strange stories. What he does not tell Maisie is that for over a millennium her female ancestors have also vanished into the wood, never to emerge—for she is descended from a long line of cursed women.
But one day Maisie’s father disappears, and Maisie must venture beyond the walls of her carefully constructed life to find him. Away from her home and the wood for the very first time, she encounters a strange world filled with wonder and deception. Yet the farther she strays, the more the wood calls her home. For only there can Maisie finally reckon with her power and come to understand the wildest parts of herself.
Julia Fine teaches writing at DePaul University and is a recent graduate of Columbia College Chicago’s MFA program. She lives in Chicago with her husband and their son. What Should Be Wild is her first novel.
“Delightful and darkly magical. Julia Fine has written a beautiful modern myth, a coming-of-age story for a girl with a worrisome power over life and death. I loved it.” —Audrey Niffenegger, author of The Time Traveler’s Wife and Her Fearful Symmetry
“Without hyperbole, it’s one of the best debut novels I’ve ever read.” --Adam Morgan, Chicago Magazine
“A debut novel spins a fairy tale about the power and terror of female desire…. Fine has written an old-fashioned book with contemporary resonances… The poise and skill with which the story unfolds is an undeniable pleasure.” --Kirkus Reviews
“Fine’s stellar debut is a mystical combination of curiosity, curses, and compassion…. An inventive and fascinating modern coming-of-age fairy tale.” --Publishers Weekly, starred review
Discover more about What Should Be Wild here
Read the 702WI interview with Julia here