Tree for Two

Author Jean Hegland goes wild

One of the year’s most fascinating science fiction novels has nary a starship or extraterrestrial in any of its 193 pages. Instead, novelist Jean Hegland’s Into the Forest (Calyx, 1996) takes as its subjects Nell and Eva, two intelligent teenage girls trying to survive in an isolated house in the heart of a redwood forest, while outside society gradually falls apart and reverts to chaos. Nell and Eva’s priorities aren’t to seek out new life forms and new civilizations; they’re to figure out how to grow their own food, keep healthy, and defend themselves in a world suddenly gone low-tech and savage.

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