A Psalm for the Wild Built, Becky Chambers (2021)

Book request:

notgrtexpectations1 asks:

Suggest me an acclaimed, “happy book”

Bibbit's Quick Rec.

A Psalm for the Wild-Built is, as I put it on reddit, the kind of book that reaches into your brain and twists. Reading it fundamentally rearranged the way I view the world. Released in 2021 as a web exclusive on Tor.Com Psalm's novella re-issue won a 2022 Hugo Award and was nominated for a Goodreads Choice award.

Sibling Dex, an ungendered but presumably non-binary monk, lives in a utopian future. They live in a mobile home, assembled for them because people knew that they needed one. Their job (although "chosen task" is perhaps a more accurate description of how these people view work) is to listen to people's problems and make them tea. They are a Tea Monk.

Dex's mobile home chugs through a solar-punk world, finding people, listening to them, and making them tea. The one person Sibling Dex can't seem to help is themself. The same sense of unease and claustrophobia that led them to abandon the big city and become a tea monk is closing in again.

Just as it's all getting to be too much for Dex they meet, in a clearing far from everything else, Psalm's second protagonist. A character whose obstinate charm will win anyone's heart.

Psalm not only encourages it's reader to re-examine possible human futures (and strive towards one not written in dystopian YA novels), but to re-examine human interaction. Chambers sets out such a firm way of life that you'll forget it isn't real. It's world so loving, you'll hate to leave it, it's characters so kind that their most mundane actions brought me almost to tears.

If A Psalm for the Wild Built commits any crime, it's being a novella. 160 pages is far too few to spend in this world. Luckily its sequel A Prayer for the Crown Shy (2022), is just as warm, and Chambers has promised to continue visiting this world alongside their ongoing Wayfarers sci-fi series.


Find it on:

Bookshop Kobo Overdrive

Tagged as:

# #A Psalm for the Wild Built #Becky Chambers #Easy Read #Ghibli-like #Happy Book #Non-Binary #Queer #Quick Rec #Sci-Fi #Solar-Punk #Utopian