The Weekend is a perfectly balanced encapsulation of the human condition, its melancholy truths set to a delightful melody only Charlotte Wood — one of our greatest writers — could devise.
It charts the complex, resilient relationship between three friends, all in their seventies, who’ve just lost a member of their quartet. The sudden death of Sylvie brings Jude (former restaurateur), Wendy (acclaimed public intellectual) and Adele (once renowned, now out-of-work actress) to Sylvie’s isolated beach house over the Christmas weekend to purge the home. But the passing of Sylvie has destabilised the bond between these women; rocked the very foundations of their lifelong friendship. As the trio handle their personal grief, it quickly becomes clear Sylvie was vital to the group’s equilibrium, and they’ll have to re calibrate as a trio in order to retain what they once held so close.
Charlotte Wood’s ability to render complex emotions with incredible lucidity and sympathetic intelligence is exceptional. The Weekend is sometimes heart-wrenching, sometimes joyous, and never anything less than sharply poignant and true. It’s a book that has lingered in my memory, and alongside the new Strout, Patchett and Parrett, ranks among the best books I’ve read this year.