'Wood’s previous book, The Natural Way of Things, was voted one of the country’s favourite novels of the 21st century ....The Weekend is the kind of successor you can only hope will follow: emotional and intellectual ambitions in perfect counterpoise. Equally ferocious, equally elegant. The Natural Way of Things was a knife; The Weekend is a scalpel.
What Wood achieves is a 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. Jude, Wendy and Adele walk across Wood’s pages like actors on a stage, utterly alive, with the ghost of Edward Albee watching delightedly from the wings. It’s a privilege to have a front row seat.'
- Beejay Silcox, The Weekend Australian Review
'Charlotte Wood’s new novel, The Weekend, is her best work yet. It is also one of the best novels of the year ... Wood is a writer who is majestically in control.'
- Maria Takolander, The Saturday Paper
'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
"[Wood is] armed with a new kind of writerly fearlessness: about style, about the nature of crisis, and about frank and memorable depictions of human behaviour and thought ... 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
'I read Charlotte Wood’s new novel, The Weekend, last Sunday, in one sitting. Here’s my verdict: wow, wow, wow, wow, wow.
This is Wood’s greatest novel yet, and that’s saying something considering its predecessors.'
- Stephen Romei, Literary Editor, The Weekend Australian
'The Weekend is more Big Chill than Handmaid’s Tale, with a dash of Big Little Lies and an echo of Atwood’s The Robber Bride. Wood uses the classic theatrical set-up of a house party to concentrate tension in a tight space ... [it] is perhaps a more serious comedy than Wood originally intended because she can’t help seeing vulnerability and injustice. ...There’s a feast of ideas for friends and book clubs to discuss. The Weekend is a novel about decluttering and real estate, about the geometry of friendship, about sexual politics, and about how we change, survive and ultimately die. Wood has captured the zeitgeist again, with a mature ease that entertains even as it nudges our prejudices.'
- Susan Wyndham, The Guardian Australia
'Wood’s writing continues to grow in assurance with each new work: never fussy, but grounded, and intensely physical ... For Jude, Wendy and Adele, the sense of possibility, of opening up, of not being done yet, does not disappear with age – and why would it? Notwithstanding the indignities inflicted upon them, and assumptions made about them, solely because of their age, Wood has introduced us to three striving, difficult, vulnerable and engaging women, who are all very much alive.'
- Sophia Barnes, The Sydney Review of Books
'This is an illuminating novel of friendship, joy and hope, tempered by fear and sadness. Wood describes the ordinary with such clarity, it is at once both tender and devastating. Her skilful observations of the minutiae that make us human ultimately show us who we really are.'
- Karen Viggers, The Canberra Times
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News & events
Tour & coming appearances
Nov 7: Bookoccino Bookshop Avalon, in conversation with Denise Leith
Nov 22: Woollahra Library at Double Bay, in conversation with Vicki Hastrich and Ailsa Piper
MELBOURNE / VICTORIA
Oct 23, 2pm:, Northcote Library, hosted by Fairfield Books
Oct 23, 6.30pm: Readings Carlton, in conversation with Sophie Cunningham - Church of All Nations Carlton
Oct 24: The Avenue Bookstore Albert Park, in conversation with Barbara Hogarth
Oct 25: Books and Ideas at Montalto Winery hosted by Wheeler Centre
Oct 27: Farrells Bookshop Mornington, in conversation with Kate Horton
Feb 9: Great Escape Books Aireys Inlet, literary lunch in conversation with Hannie Rayson
Oct 29: Avid Reader West End Brisbane, in conversation with Ashley Hay
Oct 30: Riverbend Books Bulimba, in conversation with Julie Kordic
Oct 31: Matilda Bookshop, Mt Barker
Nov 6: Fullers Bookshop Hobart, in conversation with Posie Graeme-Evans
Nov 14: Gleebooks Blackheath, in conversation with Tegan Bennett Daylight
Nov 19: Book Bazaar Umina, in conversation with Vicki Hastrich and Ailsa Piper, Bells at Killcare
Nov 23: Wollongong Writers Festival, Wollongong Art Gallery
'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.