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  • Writer's pictureLafourche Parish Public Library

Catherine's Pick: A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers

In A Psalm for the Wild-Built , bestselling Becky Chambers' delightful new Monk and Robot series, gives us hope for the future.

A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers takes place on Panga, a moon orbiting the planet Motan, but could just as easily be Earth in the not-too-distant future. Humanity has developed a society in delicate, carefully-maintained balance with nature after robots gained consciousness some centuries before and refused to continue working in the factories they had been built to operate. No human has seen a robot since, as they went to explore the wilderness humanity no longer touches.

Sibling Dex is a tea monk, a person who has pledged their life to the God of Small Comforts and travels Panga offering people warm tea, an open ear to their troubles, and space to exist outside of their responsibilities keeping their communities functioning. When Dex finds that they, themself, are the one in need of space outside of their routine, they head down an abandoned road in search of an even more abandoned hermitage.

It is on this adventure that a robot wanders into Dex’s camp. Its name is Splendid Speckled Mosscap, and Mosscap has been sent by robotkind to check in on humanity and search for the answer to the question “What do people need?” Dex’s life, and perhaps all of Panga, will never be the same again.

A Psalm for the Wild-Built is a brief, relaxing, often funny read, good for a single, quiet day with a big pot of tea. It is also a hopeful vision of what life could be like on the other side of humanity deciding to stop the wild expansion that has defined our modern lives. Panga is a world less concerned with gender than ours is. Dex is nonbinary and their monastic life does not forbid them the small comfort of a night spent intimately with people of any gender, though the act itself stays between the paragraph breaks.

I can see myself returning to Panga again and again when I need a break from our current reality, whether through this book or its equally excellent sequel, A Prayer for the Crown-Shy.

- Catherine, Cataloging Associate

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