A different, more expansive way to conceive of the physical act of writing; understanding the process allows you to imagine what’s been cut out, rearranged, and, most interestingly, what inspired the work ... Reading The Nature Book alongside a more traditional novel (in this case, any novel concerned with people) cultivates a kinship between the wild and the societal. Nature in Comitta’s novel is sinister, joyful, cruel, clumsy, and daring ... Comitta’s nature contains multitudes; it is mercurial and mysterious ... Comitta centers you in the reading experience, not just demanding your labor of comprehension at the languorous, long sentence level, but also requiring your attention and patience to stay with writing that doesn’t hurry, and characters...whose rich interiority and nuanced observations replace a rapid plot ... The Nature Book is littered with shiny facts nestled in tender anecdotes on the subject of nature. It’s informative as much as it is entertaining ... Poets and prose writers will find the novel instructive from a craft perspective. The language constructs a voice and tone that are consistently lush and inspiring, imagistic and lyrical ... You’ll be hard-pressed to find another book with as verdant an archive of beautiful descriptive sentences as the one contained in The Nature Book.
An epic journey — visual, textural and musical — that illustrates the vastness of our environment and its representation in literature ... The Nature Book is so much more than a simple catalog. Despite its formal challenges — no human actors, strict adherence to direct quotation — it reads just as a novel should ... What makes the novel truly original is how it imagines a world in which we, homo sapiens, are irrelevant.
The Nature Book sits at the crossroads of two innovative traditions: collage texts and posthuman fiction ... The book feels, at its best, symphonic, both in its structure—four movements, the third of which is the most distinct and the last of which references the first and goes out in a brilliant burst—and in the way language echoes, builds, works its accretive magic ... The Nature Book is, at times, maddening; I wanted it to be more slender, more controlled, less... wild. I missed people; I missed our stories. But I came to feel that time spent wandering in the book, even when I felt frustrated or lost, was of value; it was like time spent wandering through unfamiliar terrain ... In other ways, The Nature Book isn’t like a wilderness at all. Posthuman fiction can show us a lot of things, but what it can’t show us is a world without us. Comitta allows concrete traces of human presence to remain in the book’s metaphors and similes ... But we’re also there in the very fact of language. We’re there in the syntax itself. What we see in the book is not nature but a reflection of ourselves looking at nature and superimposed upon the view.