The Weekend

Charlotte Wood. Riverhead, $27 (272p) ISBN 978-0-593-08643-8
In Wood’s sharp sixth novel (after The Natural Way of Things), three septuagenarian Aussie women gather to help settle the affairs of their dead friend, Sylvie. Jude, a cold-blooded restaurateur and for decades the mistress of a married man, takes charge of the friends’ task of clearing out Sylvie’s beach house, which is perched on a perilous cliff. Wendy, a bedraggled feminist academic still mourning the death of her husband, arrives with her decrepit dog, Finn, whose ailments mirror the women’s own. Late, as usual, comes Adele, a once-celebrated actor who hasn’t had a gig in some time. Together, the old friends begin sorting through Sylvie’s things. Inevitably, in the process of clearing and discarding, the women unearth old irritations and a devastating secret, causing them to question how they’d ever become friends in the first place. Wood explores myriad possibilities of success, failure, philosophy, psychic ailments, and forms of melancholy that a 70-something woman might experience. While the qualities seem to be assigned almost at random to her characters, somewhat diminishing their effect (Wood likens Wendy to Sontag even though she dresses like “a witless old hippie”), the women are mostly recognizable nonetheless, and painfully relatable. Baby boomers and Wood’s fans will best appreciate this astringent story. (Aug.)
Reviewed on : 05/13/2020
Release date: 08/04/2020
Genre: Fiction
Book - 978-0-593-08645-2
Book - 978-0-593-08644-5
Paperback - 400 pages - 978-0-593-28601-2
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