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The Weekend

The Weekend


‘A lovely, lively, intelligent, funny book’ Tessa Hadley

Sharp, funny, heartbreaking and gorgeously-written. I loved it’ Paula Hawkins

Sylvie, Jude, Wendy and Adele 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.

These women couldn’t be more different: Jude, a once-famous restaurateur with a long-standing affair with a married man; Wendy, an acclaimed feminist intellectual; Adele, a former star of the stage. Struggling to recall exactly why they’ve remained close all these years, the grieving women gather for one last weekend at Sylvie’s old beach house – not for a celebration of her life, but to clean the place out before it is sold.

But amid the ruins of their relationship there are glimpses of the affection that has kept them together for years – and when disaster strikes and secrets are revealed, their friendship will be the only thing keeping them alive.
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Genre: Fiction & Related Items / Modern & Contemporary Fiction (post C 1945)

On Sale: 25th June 2020

Price: £19.99

ISBN-13: 9781474613019


I plan to read this insightful, poignant and fiercely honest novel about female friendship and female ageing a second time, then seek out every other book its marvellous author has written.
Sigrid Nunez, author of the New York Times bestseller and National Book Award-winner THE FRIEND
I read Charlotte Wood's new novel, The Weekend, in one sitting. Here's my verdict: wow, wow, wow, wow, wow . . . This is Wood's greatest novel yet . . . A final sequence as powerful as anything in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? 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.
Stephen Romei, The Australian
This richly textured novel is about so many things that it's hard to do justice to all of them. But there's something even deeper going on, something about existence itself. One of the underlying themes of this novel is the precarious nature of womanhood even in first-world societies: what seems to be social or financial or emotional security often turns out to be largely illusory. Wood's technique in this novel is masterly.
Kerryn Goldsworthy, Sydney Morning Herald
When Charlotte Wood finished writing her furious tour de force, The Natural Way of Things, she declared that for her sanity she would next write a lighter, funnier novel. And so she has - in a way. What could possibly be disturbing in a comedy about a group of ageing female friends? . . . The Weekend is Big Chill, with a dash of Big Little Lies and an echo of Atwood's The Robber Bride . . . Wood, a mere youngster in her 50s, researched the biology of old age during a fellowship at the University of Sydney and nimbly inhabits these bodies and minds. The Weekend is perhaps a more serious comedy than Wood originally intended because she can't help seeing vulnerability and injustice. Ageism is another face of sexism: older women are shut out of work, love and financial security; men are still dominant, and now young people are patronising . . . Wood has captured the zeitgeist again, with a mature ease that entertains even as it nudges our prejudices.
Susan Wyndham, Guardian
The Weekend is a character study and an interrogation of the heart. With poise and originality Charlotte Wood discloses the lives of three women who are surprised by age. This is a mightily accomplished work . . . Wood, in this engaging, stylish work, suggests that only by attending to the subtle ties involved in connection with others might there be an answer from the echoing void.
Helen Elliott, The Monthly
One of the best novels of the year . . . I couldn't remember the last time I had reviewed a book like it . . . as beautifully contained as a stage play . . . Wood is able to maintain focus on her characters, which she dissects with the precision of a vivisector . . . [they] are scrutinised here without sentimentality, though not without humour. Wood is both comic and incisive in exploring the power dynamics and gaslighting that can take place in relationships . . . Wood is a writer who is majestically in control, making it easy for a reader to surrender.
Maria Takolander, The Saturday Paper
Wood once again uses layered, alternating voices, as she did to such powerful effect in The Natural Way of Things, to reveal the contrast between each woman's view of herself and the way she is seen by the others . . . The narrative has a taut, restless energy . . . Wood is not afraid of dealing with weighty material: death, grief, age, and the loss of control - or the mirage that we ever had any control - over our bodies and the way they are perceived . . . Wood has introduced us to three striving, difficult, vulnerable and engaging women, who are all very much alive.
Sophia Barnes, Sydney Review of Books
The Natural Way of Things was a knife; The Weekend is a scalpel . . . a faultless cultural vivisection. Our epidemic of loneliness, growing class inequality, ever-present misogyny, male fragility, and the vicious rift of intergenerational animus . . . Wood's writing is at its incisively savage best. Our culture erases ageing women, relegates them to grandmotherly softness, or doddery cat-lady madness: biddies, busy-bodies and old bats. There is nothing lavender-scented about this caustic and humane novel.
Beejay Silcox, The Australian
Masterful . . . 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 skillful observations of the minutiae that make us human ultimately show us who we really are.
Karen Viggers, The Canberra Times
PRAISE FOR CHARLOTTE WOOD 'An unflinching eye and audacious imagination' Guardian 'Savage: think Atwood in the outback' Paula Hawkins, on The Natural Way of Things 'Wood's writing is direct and spare, yet capable of bursting with unexpected beauty' Economist 'An unforgettable reading experience' Liane Moriarty, on The Natural Way of Things 'Wood has the ability to evoke matters of life and death without straining for effect' Sydney Morning Herald 'Charlotte Wood's writing crackles with vivid precision' NPR 'A consummate observer of the human condition' Australian Book Review 'Vibrant, intelligent, utterly compelling work, achingly real and seductively woven' Adelaide Advertiser
The Weekend positively hums with life even as these three women are approaching the end of theirs. The book is exquisitely wrenching and poignant when dealing with female friendship and old age, yet it still manages to be funny and very real. I loved it.
Claire Fuller, bestselling author of BITTER ORANGE
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, author of THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN
Powerful, real and so urgent: The Weekend is an unforgettable study of friendship and loss. It's a delight to read such well-rounded older characters who are allowed to be angry, kind and purposeful, and still with human desires beyond not wanting to die. Brilliant: I loved it.
Caroline Hulse, author of THE ADULTS and LIKE A HOUSE ON FIRE
The Weekend is an unflinchingly observed celebration of the profundity and mundanity of friendship, treated with elegance, wit, and tenderness.
Kiran Millwood Hargrave, author of THE MERCIES
I found reading The Weekend both hypnotic and profoundly unsettling. 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. Masterful.
Rosamund Lupton, author of THREE HOURS
A lovely, lively, intelligent, funny book... So good on ageing and on the fraught, warm friendships between women.
Tessa Hadley, author of THE PAST
Fierce and unsparing, angry and tender. I loved this story of three women in their 70s and their complex, endlessly critical but unconditional friendship.
Julie Cohen, author of TOGETHER
Who would have guessed that a chamber piece would feel like the most unreachable fantasy? Our current moment adds a alluring element to the latest from beloved Australian novelist Charlotte Wood, whose sixth novel, The Weekend, sees three friends in their seventies embark on a rich but difficult task: cleaning out their late friend Sylvie's house. Jude, Wendy, and Adele's dynamic, compressed by the dual crucibles of close quarters and grief, stretches and threatens to break as they uncover unknown things about each other. Wood's brand of social observation, honed in family drama Animal People and dystopian pre-#MeToo tale The Natural Way of Things, is in evidence here-spare and unrelenting. But it also allows us to acknowledge exactly why we tolerate such tensions: it means we are there with, and for, each other.
Vogue (The 22 Best Books to Read This Summer)
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, author of VOX