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THE LUMINOUS SOLUTION:
Creativity, Resilience and the Inner Life
‘…a rich inner life is not just the preserve of the arts. The joys, fears and profound self-discoveries of creativity — through making or building anything that wasn’t there before, any imaginative exploration or attempt to invent — I believe to be the birthright of every person on this earth. If you live your life with curiosity and intention — or would like to — this book is for you.’
In this essential work, award-winning writer Charlotte Wood shares the insights and experience she has gained about creative thinking over a career paying close attention to her own mind, to the world around her and the way she and others work.
Drawing on her doctoral studies in creativity and decades of writing, conversation and immersive reading, she explores what artists might have to teach the rest of us about:
The Luminous Solution is a book about how thinking creatively can help all of us to live richer, more wholehearted lives.
Published September 2021 by Allen & Unwin Australia
ONLINE EVENTS FOR 'THE LUMINOUS SOLUTION'
Friday 1 Oct, 6.30pm
In conversation with Michaela Kalowski, hosted by Woollahra Libraries - bookings here
Tuesday 5 Oct, 6.30pm
In conversation with Helen Garner, hosted by Readings Books - bookings here
Wed 6 Oct, 6.30pm
In conversation with Krissy Kneen, hosted by Avid Reader - bookings here
THE WRITER'S ROOM PODCAST: JOAN SILBER
Charlotte interviews US author and teacher Joan Silber on character, narrative time, point of view and 'weight' in fiction.
SYDNEY WRITERS' FESTIVAL PODCAST:
WITH LUCINDA HOLDFORTH
On Virginia Woolf, money, creative androgyny, the uncanny, the grit vs the gift in creativity, Martin Amis - and love.
AMERICAN WRITERS MUSEUM
In conversation with Sigrid Nunez about her new novel
'[An] unsentimental gaze is typical of Wood's quietly radical tragicomedy ... this is rich fictional territory & Wood has made the most of it in this surefooted novel.'
- Claire Lowdon, The Sunday Times
'The temptation to reduce ageing to a condition experienced en masse rather than by individuals is a trap that snares only lesser writers. The better ones have avoided it – writers such as Nora Ephron and Penelope Lively, and, most recently, Elizabeth Strout. Joining their ranks is Australian Charlotte Wood ... What gives this novel its glorious, refreshing, forthright spine is that each of its protagonists is still adamantly (often disastrously) alive, and still less afraid of death than irrelevance.'
- Sara Collins, The Guardian
'It's hard to imagine a more perfect study of female friendship ... the denouement is so magnificent, so heart-rending, that there is no doubt Wood is a writer of an exceptional calibre.' ★★★★★
- Rosie Hopegood, Daily Express
'An authentic, sometimes funny, occasionally brutally well-observed study of female society and friendship ... As with the novels of Elizabeth Strout or Anne Tyler, these are characters not written to please, but to feel true.'
- Patricia Nicol, The Sunday Times
'The Weekend captivated me from the excellent opening chapter ... Wood evocatively captures the pasts of these resilient women, and her novel shines with rich symbolism, deft shifts in viewpoint and acutely observed details ... This wise, funny novel will help you understand yourself.' ★★★★★
- Martin Chilton, The Independent
'The gaps between how a character sees themselves and how their friends see them are astutely drawn, both painfully comic and frequently heartbreaking ... Wood is to be praised for taking female friendship seriously and for being caustically honest – there’s not a sentimental line in this beautifully insightful book.'
- Holly Williams, The Observer
‘Masterful … the prose is sharply vivid
and precise, the characters and location exceptionally real and I challenge anyone to write a better description of an elderly dog and its owner.’
- Rosamund Lupton
“Rich with character and nuance, The Weekend reminds us all that life doesn’t stop—whatever our age. A masterpiece of women’s fiction like nothing I’ve ever read.”
- Christina Dalcher
‘An unflinchingly observed celebration of the profundity and mundanity of friendship, treated with elegance, wit, and tenderness.’
- Kiran Millwood Hargrave
"The winner of this summer’s Mary McCarthy Award (so named for the author of “The Group”) goes to Charlotte Wood for THE WEEKEND, in which three women converge on an Australian seaside town to clean out the home of their newly deceased fourth ... [Wood] has an eye for the little moments that link us, sometimes past the point of reason, to people whose histories we share.'
- Liz Egan, New York Times Book Review
'Each woman is both endearing and exasperating—there are no heroes or villains, only ordinary, flawed people. This insightful character study will appeal to fans of Sue Miller and Anne Tyler.'
'These characters—unapologetic, fierce, grappling with the aging process—were so beautifully drawn and so real to me that I was choked up at the end.'
- Melanie Fleishman, Center for Fiction
'Honest and humorous ... entertaining and insightful, Wood’s impressive novel captures characters who are hard to forget.'
'A lovely, insightful exploration of aging, regrets and rebirth.'
- People Aug 24 2020
'A dark, smart comedy of manners ... the psychological landscape of women over 70, even over 50 or 60, has not been a popular subject for contemporary fiction. Recently, Elizabeth Strout offered a strong exception with “Olive, Again,” which followed her cantankerous heroine into her 90s. For a reader in or facing the demographic of Wood’s three friends, “The Weekend” is both fascinating and chilling. Not just the question of superannuated friendships, but also past-prime careers, aging bodies, senior finances and calcifying personality traits are all fairly coldly examined here.
- Marion Winik, Minneapolis Star Tribune
'Wit, insight, and some astute social commentary.'
- Kirkus Reviews
“An insightful, poignant, and fiercely honest novel about female friendship and female aging.”
- Sigrid Nunez
‘A lovely, lively, intelligent, funny book… So good on ageing and on the fraught, warm friendships between women.’
- Tessa Hadley
‘Positively hums with life… I loved it.’
- Claire Fuller
‘A wonderful, interesting read. I loved it’
- Elizabeth Day
‘A perfect, funny, insightful, novel about women, friendship, and ageing. I loved it.’ - Nina Stibbe
"It was refreshing to encounter a novel that so profoundly sympathises with women on the forbidding cusp of being classified as 'elderly. Wood ably conveys that older women didn’t used to be old, and that the experience of ageing is universally bewildering.
- Lionel Shriver, The Observer
'Best Books of 2020'
"Sharp, funny, beautiful."
- Helen Garner
‘Compassionate, funny and chock-full of painfully acute observations of compromise, friendship ageing and marriage (in all its forms), The Weekend is one of those deceptively compact novels that continues to open doors in your mind long after the last page.’
- Patrick Gale
‘Friendship, ambition, love, sexual politics
and death: it’s all here in one sharp, funny, heartbreaking and gorgeously-written package. I loved it.’
- Paula Hawkins
"Faultless cultural vivisection ... The Weekend exposes the pitiful flimsiness of our cliches with the simple (yet radical) act of fore-fronting well-written septuagenarian women."
- Beejay Silcox, The Weekend Australian
"The most lovingly precise and insightful and funny and sad examination of female friendship ... she has absolutely nailed it. It’s a great, great book.”
- Annabel Crabb, Chat 10 Looks 3
'Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow. This is Wood’s greatest novel yet, and that’s saying something considering its predecessors.'
- Stephen Romei, Literary Editor,
'This is a mightily accomplished work. Wood has created an intricate evocation of these anxious lives. Her central preoccupation are the questions: What have I lived for? What have I done with my one precious life?'
- Helen Elliott, The Monthly
"This richly textured novel is about so many things that it’s hard to do justice to all of them. Ideas about friendship, ageing and grief keep sliding kaleidoscopically in and out of focus. But there’s something even deeper going on, something about existence itself, that circles around the ancient dog Finn. ... Wood’s technique in this novel is masterly."
- Kerryn Goldsworthy,
The Sydney Morning Herald