A woman abandons her city life and marriage to return to the place of her childhood, holing up in a small religious community hidden away on the stark plains of the Monaro. She does not believe in God and doesn’t know what prayer is. She finds herself living this strange, reclusive life almost by accident. As she gradually adjusts to the rhythms of monastic life, she finds herself turning again and again to thoughts of her mother. Whose early death she can’t forget.
Disquiet interrupts this secluded life with three visitations. A terrible mouse plague, the return of the skeletal remains of a sister, presumed murdered. She had left the community decades before to minister to deprived women in Thailand. Finally, a troubling visitor to the monastery pulls the narrator further back into her past.
In this episode Gregory Dobbs chats to Charlotte Wood about how she came to choose a nameless narrator as her storyteller, why the Monaro plains hold such meaning for her, and the benefits of writing someone else’s memoir.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Charlotte Wood is the author of nine books including The Luminous Solution, and the international bestseller, The Weekend. The Weekend made it onto the shortlist for several awards including the Stella Prize and the Prime Minister’s Literary Award. Both of which she won for her previous novel, The Natural Way of Things, in 2016. That title was featured in the 2021 ABC Television series, ‘The Books That Made Us’.
Belvoir Theatre Company in Sydney staged an adaptation of The Weekend in August 2023.
In 2019 Charlotte was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM). She also earned her spot as one of the Australian Financial Review’s 100 Women of Influence. Her features and essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, Literary Hub, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Saturday Paper among other publications.