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The Weekend
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The Weekend

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16416125,952 (3.56)9
People went on about death bringing friends together, but it wasn't true. The graveyard, the stony dirt - that's what it was like now . . . Despite the three women knowing each other better than their own siblings, Sylvie's death had opened up strange caverns of distance between them. Four older women have a lifelong friendship of the best kind: loving, practical, frank and steadfast. But when Sylvie dies, the ground shifts dangerously for the remaining three. Can they survive together without her? They are Jude, a once-famous restaurateur, Wendy, an acclaimed public intellectual, and Adele, a renowned actress now mostly out of work. Struggling to recall exactly why they've remained close all these years, the grieving women gather for Christmas at Sylvie's old beach house - not for festivities, but to clean the place out before it is sold. Without Sylvie to maintain the group's delicate equilibrium, frustrations build and painful memories press in. Fraying tempers, an elderly dog, unwelcome guests and too much wine collide in a storm that brings long-buried hurts to the surface - and threatens to sweep away their friendship for good.… (more)
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The Weekend by Charlotte Wood

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Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
Not very likeable characters. ( )
  BookBuddies | Jan 27, 2021 |
The Short of It:

Started off as a sweet story about three friends coming together after a friend’s death, but then was punched through with sadness and a little darkness which I was not expecting.

The Rest of It:

After the passing of their friend Sylvie, Adele, Jude, Wendy and her dog Finn, arrive at Sylvie’s old beach house to prepare it for sale. Adele, a former actress who still has her looks about her, prances around, flaunting her flexibility which she still possesses even in her 70s. Jude, the most sensible but also the most abrasive of the trio, puts up with her to a point but lets everyone know when they are annoying or slacking at the task at hand. After all, they have a job to do.

Wendy arrives a little sad over the death of her friend but also sad about the husband she lost and the next chapter of their lives. They aren’t getting any younger. By her side, is her sweet dog Finn who is also getting on in his years. So much so that he has anxiety attacks, paces relentlessly and has accidents, regularly. Wendy knows that she should put him down, but can’t bring herself to do so. Poor Finn.

The author does a magnificent job of capturing that fleeting feeling of time passing too quickly. In their prime, these four women were formidable and strong, successful and bonded through friendship. But in their 70s, they are tired and short with each other as they each figure out how they fit together without their friend Sylvie. As insecurities flare and one big secret is revealed that threatens to destroy their friendship, they pause for a moment to figure out where they want to go because even at this age, they have choices.

I really enjoyed this book and the writing in particular but there was one big problem I had with it and it’s the treatment of the elderly dog, Finn. I know that a beloved dog approaching the end of its life was probably intentional given that these ladies were also getting on in years and approaching the last stage of life, but the way this poor animal is treated by the other ladies in the house really bothered me. He’s full of anxiety, pushed around, forced to sleep outside even though he’s terrified of his own shadow. I really do not know why the author chose to include such horrible treatment of this poor dog. It was terribly disappointing and I felt, a poor choice and unfortunately affected how I felt about the book overall.

If you can get past these moments with the dog, then you might appreciate the writing, as I did. But I felt so sorry for this poor pup. I really did.

For more reviews, visit my blog: Book Chatter. ( )
  tibobi | Nov 25, 2020 |
Enjoyable book about old people set in Australia. Pity the ending was not complete. Why authors don’t finish books is annoying ( )
  shazjhb | Oct 1, 2020 |
This is a quote from the Australian 'Guardian': Wood, a mere youngster in her 50s, researched the biology of old age during a fellowship at the University of Sydney and nimbly inhabits these bodies and minds.

Reality: Those of us who have reached our seventies have had lot of time to come to terms with mortality. We do not waste our time whingeing about it. We get on with the life we have left.

If I researched the biology of youth would that make me qualified to write about it?
Aging is not about biology.

Old people are not that different from everyone else; we merely creak a bit more. ( )
  dianaleez | Sep 1, 2020 |
The Weekend by Charlotte Wood is a recommended character study of three longtime friends.

Jude, Wendy, and Adele have all been friends for many years. They are now in their seventies and are reuniting over the Christmas holiday in Bittoes, not far from Sydney, at their late friend Sylvie's beach house. They are there to clean the beach house out for Sylvie's partner before it is sold. The group is quite diverse. Jude is a once-famous restaurateur; Wendy is an acclaimed author and intellectual; and Adele is a renowned, but unemployed, actress. The four friends had a lifelong relationship, but with Sylvie gone, the dynamics of the group has changed. They know how each other will react, but can they remain close now.

Adding to the tension is Wendy's seventeen-year-old dog, Finn, who is nearing the end of his life. Wendy had to bring him, but he is not appreciated by Jude, who had exact plans for what would be accomplished this weekend. Adele is just out for Adele and insists on doing what she wants. Jude, who has been the mistress of a married man for years, wants to get this weekend over with so she can meet Daniel. The weekend culminates with the disclosure of a long held hurtful secret.

The women are certainly sharply observed and described, although they are limited to almost stereotypes, with each woman fulfilling her prescribed role as an aging woman. I didn't always find the narrative humorous as much as tedious, with incredulity over their connection. The main question they are all asking internally and I was certainly asking aloud throughout the narrative was this: Why on earth are these women still friends with each other? They may have all loved Sylvie (for whatever reason, as it isn't clear why she would hold this diverse group together) but there is very little love between them.

Currently living with an old dog nearing the end of his life (blind, deaf, in diapers, and he scrabbles around) I understood Wendy trying to give Finn the best end of his life time she could and I am sympathetic to her character. Jude and Adele were a different story. I did appreciated the commentary on aging and the exploration of what can be viewed as success and failure when one looks back at their life, but I'm not sure the emotional internal dialogue of each woman all the time was necessary. At the end I simply wondered why Wendy didn't set boundaries with the other two years before and, since I doubt they would have worked, why not end the tenuous friendship. I would have cut and run decades before this and certainly wouldn't be voluntarily spending a weekend cleaning out a friend's home with such disagreeable people.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Penguin Random House.
http://www.shetreadssoftly.com/2020/08/the-weekend.html
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3475294240 ( )
  SheTreadsSoftly | Aug 2, 2020 |
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People went on about death bringing friends together, but it wasn't true. The graveyard, the stony dirt - that's what it was like now . . . Despite the three women knowing each other better than their own siblings, Sylvie's death had opened up strange caverns of distance between them. Four older women have a lifelong friendship of the best kind: loving, practical, frank and steadfast. But when Sylvie dies, the ground shifts dangerously for the remaining three. Can they survive together without her? They are Jude, a once-famous restaurateur, Wendy, an acclaimed public intellectual, and Adele, a renowned actress now mostly out of work. Struggling to recall exactly why they've remained close all these years, the grieving women gather for Christmas at Sylvie's old beach house - not for festivities, but to clean the place out before it is sold. Without Sylvie to maintain the group's delicate equilibrium, frustrations build and painful memories press in. Fraying tempers, an elderly dog, unwelcome guests and too much wine collide in a storm that brings long-buried hurts to the surface - and threatens to sweep away their friendship for good.

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