'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.
Publication date: 14 October 2019
'OK, I couldn’t wait. It’s not out until October 14 but 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 ... When I finished reading The Weekend, which has a final sequence as powerful as anything in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, a stage drama central to the life of one of the main characters, I had that strange feeling of realising my heart was beating too fast. Yet I hadn’t left the couch in a few hours, except to make a cup of tea. I’m not going to review the novel here. We will run a substantial review nearer to publication date. I just want to make sure it is on your radars. Get a copy as soon as you can.'
- Stephen Romei, Literary Editor, The Weekend Australian
'The Weekend is a perfectly balanced encapsulation of the human condition, its melancholy truths set to a delightful melody only Charlotte Wood — one of our greatest writers — could devise ...
Wood’s ability to render complex emotions with incredible lucidity and sympathetic intelligence is exceptional. The Weekend is sometimes heart-wrenching, sometimes joyous, and never anything less than sharply poignant and true. It’s a book that has lingered in my memory, and alongside the new Strout, Patchett and Parrett, ranks among the best books I’ve read this year.'
- Simon Mcdonald, Potts Point Bookshop
'Charlotte Wood’s brevity and precision are showcased like never before in this novel – an evolution of her hilarious and caustic style. Flawless.'
- Ben Hunter, Booktopia
'While the narrative may seem familiar—old friends coming together and having to face the buried resentments and recriminations of the past—Wood handles it with such empathy and dramatic dexterity that it becomes fresh and confronting. She not only captures the awkward navigations that occur when a death permanently disrupts the balance of a long-term friendship, but also how those navigations are shaped by time of life ... It’s refreshing to read a novel that centres the experiences of older women with unflinching pathos and clarity: Wood’s characters are fully formed, flawed but sympathetic in very different ways. The Weekend is a sharply observed portrait of growing old that’s sure to resonate with a broad age range of literary fiction readers.'
- Carody Culver, Books & Publishing magazine