Thunderhead by Miranda Darling

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Author: Miranda Darling

Category: Fiction & related items

Book Format: Hardback

Publisher: Scribe Publications

ISBN: 9781761380396

RRP: $29.99

It’s clearly not coincidental that Miranda Darling’s protagonist in Thunderhead is called ‘Mrs Dalloway’. The novella is a stream-of-consciousness narration about a day in the life of suburban wife and mother Winona Dalloway, which is to culminate in a dinner for which she will buy the flowers herself. The clue is in the epigraph taken from Woolf’s To the Lighthouse (‘there were little daily miracles, matches struck unexpectedly in the dark …’). 

Little daily miracles in this woman’s life are marked by metaphorical beads threaded onto a string (‘the nascent necklace of success’) and dropped in her pocket – ‘click’. Clicks however are flimsy life-rafts and won’t save this woman from the inundation of inner demons that threaten her sanity. Thunderhead signifies the gathering storm which will rail and batter at the windows of her house where the true epicentre remains inside, the fury of the abusive husband (‘Him’), the provocation and perpetrator of Winona’s shattering identity.

In prose that’s intense, darkly funny and searingly astute, Darling successfully conveys the sense of entrapment, the frantic bargaining with fate and the ultimate powerlessness of a woman overwhelmed by a vicious man. For the reader, being trapped inside Winona’s head becomes uncomfortably claustrophobic at times. One longs for a break from the relentless downward spiral, a step back to see the protagonist in a fuller dimension, as more than the victim of marital catastrophe.

Reviewed by Anne Green


Miranda Darling, Australian author

Miranda Darling is a writer and poet and co-founder of Vanishing Pictures. She read English and Modern Languages at Oxford then took a Masters in Strategic Studies and Defence from the ANU (GSSD). Miranda became an adjunct scholar at a public policy think tank, specialising in non-traditional security threats. She has published both fiction and nonfiction; Thunderhead is her fifth book.

She is interested in the re-wilding of our inner landscapes, and in the protection of the small liberties in our everyday lives that pave the way for our wider freedoms.

Follow Miranda Darling on Instagram


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