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Stone Yard Devotional

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Audiobook Downloadable / ISBN-13: 9781399724371

Price: £24.99

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The new novel by Charlotte Wood, the Stella Prize-winning author of The Natural Way of Things and The Weekend.

A fearless exploration of forgiveness, grief and the complicated beauty of female friendship.

Burnt out and in need of retreat, a middle-aged woman leaves Sydney to return to the place she grew up, finding solace in a small religious community hidden away on the stark plains of the Australian outback. She doesn’t believe in God, or know what prayer is, and finds herself living this strange, reclusive existence almost by accident.

As she gradually adjusts to the rhythms of her new life, she ruminates on her childhood in the nearby town, turning again and again to thoughts of her mother, whose early death she can’t forget.

But disquiet interrupts this secluded life with three visitations. First comes a terrible mouse plague, each day signalling a new battle against the rising infestation. Second is the return of the skeletal remains of a sister who disappeared decades before, presumed murdered. And finally, a troubling visitor plunges the narrator further back into her past.

‘Both profound and addictively entertaining. I loved it’
CLARE CHAMBERS, bestselling author of Small Pleasures

‘Beautiful, strange and otherworldly’
PAULA HAWKINS, bestselling author of A Slow Fire Burning

‘Subtly powerful and utterly engrossing’
CLAIRE FULLER, bestselling author of Unsettled Ground

(P) 2023 Allen & Unwin

What's Inside

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PRAISE FOR CHARLOTTE WOOD'S THE WEEKEND A Sunday Times 'Best books for summer 2021' | A Times, Guardian and Daily Mail paperback pick | A Times, Observer, Independent, Daily Express and Good Housekeeping book of the year 'The Weekend is so great I am struggling to find the words to do it justice' Marian Keyes 'A lovely, lively, intelligent, funny book' Tessa Hadley 'A rare pleasure' Sunday Times 'Glorious... Charlotte Wood joins the ranks of writers such as Nora Ephron, Penelope Lively and Elizabeth Strout' Guardian 'These women are so alive on the page, it is impossible not to feel a kinship and intimacy with each of them' Daily Express
Intelligent and nourishing, Stone Yard Devotional shows us the mysteries of human relationships, asking who can and should bestow forgiveness. This novel is subtly powerful and utterly engrossing
Claire Fuller, author of UNSETTLED GROUND
A slim novel which tackles weighty themes - guilt, loss, forgiveness - and manages to be both profound and addictively entertaining. I loved it
Clare Chambers, bestselling author of SMALL PLEASURES
Beautiful, strange and otherworldly, Charlotte Wood's latest novel is an absorbing mediation on grief, forgiveness and our relationship to the natural world
Paula Hawkins, no. 1 bestselling author of A SLOW FIRE BURNING
A beautiful and masterful book especially for its ability to dwell within the confusion and complexity of all that it is questioning, and for all of its quiet force
Remarkable - I'm still trying to figure out how she pulled it off. The best thing she's done
Tim Winton, Books of the Year, Sydney Morning Herald
Magnificent and radical . . . It gripped me from the opening line to the very last
A quiet, calm, very personal book at a time when we are all so overwhelmed with everything happening around us
Elke Heidenreich, Spiegel
Wood writes not only grippingly but in a lovingly ironic way about everything the monastery heroine experiences - and it's more than you'd expect
It's possible that some readers regarded Charlotte Wood's 2016 Stella Prize-winning The Natural Way of Things as the pinnacle of her writing career, but as it happens Wood was just getting warmed up . . . Wood's use of first person is reminiscent of Elizabeth Strout's Lucy novels; even the episodic structure seems to take inspiration from those books. But there are also echoes of Marilynne Robinson in that the narrator's self-scrutiny is involved in the question of what it means to live a moral life . . . In this extraordinary novel, everything resonates and becomes meaningful . . . It's difficult to understate the risks Wood has taken in constructing this book out of apparently minor events. But Stone Yard Devotional is a stunning work of fiction from a major writer who keeps getting better
A book that extends and deepens Wood's already remarkable achievements as a novelist in powerful and often profound ways . . . It is a mark of Wood's sophistication as a writer that the novel does not attempt to resolve these contradictions. Instead it suggest that goodness is fraught and imperfect and that the bonds of love and obligation, kindness and cruelty that bind us to one another are written deep in our bodies, shaping us in ways we cannot ever fully escape or understand
Saturday Paper
Quiet but weighty, Stone Yard Devotional is all about the complicated task of loving the world and its creatures. No words can quite convey how much I loved this book. I am just so happy to have read it
Karen Joy Fowler, author of BOOTH
A slender novel which carries a weighty punch. So beautifully written, at times it felt like reading a lament on grief, guilt and responsibility. And it asks the most dangerous question of all: if you reduce a life down to its bare bones, what are you left with? Of what will you feel proud? Moving, searing and urgent, this book is stunning
Araminta Hall, author of ONE OF THE GOOD GUYS
Hannah Kent, Books of the Year, Sydney Morning Herald
Wood's generous capacity for sustained attention is a gift to readers . . . Stone Yard Devotional invites the kind of contemplation and pause that is rare in a world of constant distraction. Its slow pace is counterbalanced by the shafts of meaning that fall right through Wood's lucid prose. Its stillness comes to feel less like a retreat and more like a radical practice, the soul-work of holding oneself accountable. If there is peace to be found here, it is hard won
Jennifer Mills, Australian Book Review