11 June 2020

Review: THE WEEKEND, Charlotte Wood

  • this edition sourced through my local library on Libby
  • published by Allen & Unwin, 2019
  • 272 pages
  • ISBN  9781760292010
  • Shortlisted ALS Gold Medal 2020 AU;
    Longlisted Miles Franklin Award 2020 AU;
    Shortlisted Stella Prize 2020 AU;
    Winner Literary Fiction Book of the Year, ABIA Awards 2020 AU;
    Shortlisted Best Fiction, Indie Book Awards 2020 AU
Synopsis (publisher)

People went on about death bringing friends together, but it wasn't true. The graveyard, the stony dirt - that's what it was like now . . . Despite the three women knowing each other better than their own siblings, Sylvie's death had opened up strange caverns of distance between them.

Four older women have a lifelong friendship of the best kind: loving, practical, frank and steadfast. But when Sylvie dies, the ground shifts dangerously for the remaining three. Can they survive together without her?

They are Jude, a once-famous restaurateur, Wendy, an acclaimed public intellectual, and Adele, a renowned actress now mostly out of work. Struggling to recall exactly why they've remained close all these years, the grieving women gather for Christmas at Sylvie's old beach house - not for festivities, but to clean the place out before it is sold.

Without Sylvie to maintain the group's delicate equilibrium, frustrations build and painful memories press in. Fraying tempers, an elderly dog, unwelcome guests and too much wine collide in a storm that brings long-buried hurts to the surface - and threatens to sweep away their friendship for good.

The Weekend explores growing old and growing up, and what happens when we're forced to uncover the lies we tell ourselves. Sharply observed and excruciatingly funny, this is a jewel of a book: a celebration of tenderness and friendship that is nothing short of a masterpiece.

My Take

First of all, this is NOT crime fiction (for those who follow my blog).

Four friends, now in their seventies, have met for years at Christmas at a beach house on the New South Wales coast. Now there are just three of them, and they are meeting to clean out the beach house in preparation for sale.
It becomes obvious that the glue that has held them together over the years is the owner of the beach house, the friend who has recently died.  And perhaps the things that separate them are bigger than the things that bind.
We find out rather a lot about their current situations, and also a lot about what has happened in their lives over the years.

A thought provoking read.

My rating:4.6

About the author
Charlotte Wood has been described as 'one of our most original and provocative writers'. She is the author of six novels and two books of non-fiction. Her bestselling novel, The Natural Way of Things, won the 2016 Stella Prize, the Indie Book of the Year and Indie Book Award for Fiction, was joint winner of the Prime Minister's Literary Award for Fiction, and was published throughout Europe, the United Kingdom and North America. She has been twice shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award, as well as many others for this and previous works. Her non-fiction books include The Writer's Room, a collection of interviews with authors about the creative process, and Love & Hunger, a book about cooking. She lives in Sydney with her husband.

1 comment:

Marg said...

I kind of feel like a bad Aussie book blogger when I confess I have never read a Charlotte Wood book.


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