Review: The Weekend by Charlotte Wood

Title: The Weekend

Author: Charlotte Wood

Published: June 25th 2020, Weidenfeld & Nicolson

Status: Read July 2020 courtesy Orion/Netgalley


My Thoughts:

“Adele and Wendy and Jude did not fit properly anymore, without Sylvie.”

The Weekend by Charlotte Wood is a searing and insightful portrait of friendship, ageing and grief.

“Because what was friendship, after forty years? What would it be after fifty, or sixty? It was a mystery. It was immutable, a force as deep and inevitable as the vibration of the ocean coming to her through the sand. Wasn’t it?”

Less than a year after the death of Sylvie, her lifelong closest friends -Jude, Wendy and Adele, are spending Christmas weekend emptying her holiday home in Bittoes on the NSW Central Coast. It’s a chore each of them have been dreading, and in the sweltering summer heat, the task threatens to tear them apart.

“‘This was something nobody talked about: how death could make you petty. And how you had to find a new arrangement among your friends, shuffling around the gap of the lost one, all of you suddenly mystified by how to be with one another.’”

Shifting perspectives reveal the complex inner lives of these women as they grieve, and bicker and reminisce. Wood explores the fragility and resilience of their friendship as old hurts resurface, resentments simmer, and secrets are laid bare.

“It was true that time had gradually taken on a different cast. It didn’t seem to go forwards or backwards now, but up and down. The past was striated through you, through your body, leaching into the present and the future. The striations were evident, these streaky layers of memory, of experience— but you were one being, you contained all of it. If you looked behind or ahead of you, all was emptiness.”

Aged in their seventies, the women keenly feel the passage of time, reflecting on their pasts, and contemplating their futures as they attend to their tasks. Having enjoyed successful careers, and relationships, they struggle with their losses, and what they have yet to lose. Ageing is an uncomfortable process for them all, though in different ways for different reasons. Wendy’s old and feeble dog, Finn, is a clear metaphor for its indignities.

“And each of the three let go, plunged down and felt herself carried, lifted up in the great sweep of the water’s force, and then—astonishingly gently—set down on her feet again. They breathed, and wiped their eyes, reached for each other again, waited for the next wave.”

Yet there is plenty of life left in these women, none are quite ready to submit to mortality. Told with wit, tenderness and brutal honesty, The Weekend explores the mundane to expose the extraordinary.


Available from Orion Books UK

Or from your preferred retailer via Booko I Book Depository i Hive UK I Indiebound


Also by Charlotte Wood featured at Book’d Out 


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #SundayPost #SundaySalon | book'd out
  2. denisenewton1960
    Jul 06, 2020 @ 07:18:35

    I enjoyed your review of this wonderful book.

    Liked by 1 person


  3. Helen Murdoch
    Jul 07, 2020 @ 08:05:16

    Many of my parents’ friends (and some of mine) are in this stage of life so I hear quite a bit about downsizing, moving, etc. It’s a lot and having good friends along to help is a good idea.

    Liked by 1 person


  4. Kate W
    Jul 17, 2020 @ 21:05:06

    Your final sentence sums it up perfectly 🙂

    Liked by 1 person


  5. Trackback: Bookmarks: Monday 19 July, 2021 | Short List Books

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