Summary and book reviews of Weathering by Lucy Wood

Weathering

by Lucy Wood

Weathering by Lucy Wood
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Jan 2016, 304 pages
    Paperback:
    Mar 2017, 304 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Rebecca Foster

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About this Book

Book Summary

A dreamlike tale tale that explores big topics - belonging, mortality, love - though the lives of three women (one who is dead), and old house, and a river....

Pearl doesn't know how she's ended up in the river - the same messy, cacophonous river in the same rain-soaked valley she'd been stuck in for years. But here her spirit swirls and stays ... Ada, Pearl's daughter, doesn't know how she's ended up back in the house she left thirteen years ago - with no heating apart from a fire she can't light, no way of getting around apart from an old car she's scared to drive, and no company apart from her own young daughter, Pepper. She wants to clear out Pearl's house so she can leave and not look back. Pepper has grown used to following her restless mother from place to place, but this house, with its faded photographs, its boxes of cameras and its stuffed jackdaw, is something new. Fascinated by the scattering of people she meets, by the river that unfurls through the valley, and by the strange old woman who sits on the bank with her feet in the cold, coppery water, Pepper doesn't know why anyone would ever want to leave.

As the first frosts of autumn herald the coming of a long winter and Pepper and Ada find themselves entangled with the life of the valley, with new companions who won't be closed out, each will discover the ways that places can take root inside us, bind us together, and become us.

Excerpt
Weathering

A night of heavy rain which left the trees dripping. Water pooled on the front step and some of it came in under the door. Her mother was going to the shop but Pepper didn't want to go – it was always cold and the man that worked there, Mick, watched her and tapped his long fingers on the counter. Also, she felt a faint pang of fear whenever she thought of being in the car.

She was meant to stay indoors but everything looked varnished and bright after the rain, so she put her coat on and went outside, then came back in and slung the camera over her shoulder.

Through the sopping grass and down towards the river. It was wide and brown today, and it rippled and churned. There were deep creases when it went round rocks and a hollow, clunking noise. It looked strong, like a muscle. When she threw in a stick, the stick didn't float on the surface – it got dragged under, as if something had reached up to grab it. She walked along the bank and there was...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

For all its atmosphere, Weathering does begin to meander aimlessly, suggesting it might be better at nearer 200 pages than 300. However, Wood's enchanting prose is full of inventive metaphors: "the trees wearing mist as scarves. The light curdled like old milk" and "threadbare hair and deep rings slung hammocks under his eyes." In the end the most memorable "characters" of all are the house and the river, which take on life and power of their own. With its vivid picture of the English countryside and its clear-eyed look at family dynamics, Weathering reminds me most of recent works by Tessa Hadley, Ross Raisin, and Polly Samson (three authors perhaps less well known in the United States than in their native England). Lucy Wood is an up-and-coming talent whose gently eerie first novel speaks of great things to come.   (Reviewed by Rebecca Foster).

Full Review (776 words).

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Media Reviews

Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review. A luminous modern fairy tale.

The Guardian (UK)

[Wood] skilfully modifies her prose as she moves from one mind to another, leavening her vividly descriptive passages with snippets of speech or thought, wittily profane and colloquial ... Pepper is a glorious child in the tradition of Harper Lee's Scout and Donna Tartt's Harriet.

The Times (UK)

Beautiful … The river and the house are wonderfully drawn and the voices of the characters, unforgettable.

The Daily Telegraph (UK)

Five stars … Wood has created a work as intricately detailed as one of the delicate pieces of jewellery that Pearl used to restore … Wood is a creator of worlds. This sodden river valley is one to savour.

Mail on Sunday (UK)

No bald description of Wood's extraordinary novel can do justice to its lyrical prose and bold storytelling. An imaginative tour de force.

The Sunday Times (UK)

Wood beautifully renders a landscape by turns rain-soaked and snow-laden ... The author has a gift for capturing how humans are bound to and moulded by places.

Reader Reviews

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Beyond the Book

A Selection of Literary Prizes

Lucy Wood, the author of Weathering, won a Somerset Maugham Award, named after the famous author.

What does it take to get a literary prize named after you? Some amount of money and/or influence in the literary world, to be sure, but also a personal connection to the prize being offered and its specific criteria. Here are a few examples of prizes you might not be aware of or might not realize were named after real people.

Somerset Maugham Awards

Recognizing published works of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry, the Somerset Maugham Awards are available to British writers under the age of 35. Administered by the Society of Authors, the fund was started by novelist W. Somerset Maugham in 1947 to allow young writers "to enrich their ...

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