This book is a difficult one to review as I have mixed feelings about it. I’d read The Natural Way of Things which won the Stella Prize and was blown away by it.
The Weekend is absolutely nothing like it. The story is about three seventy-something- year- old women who come together over Christmas to clear out the house of their dead friend. The relationship of the women is complex, as it is long, having known each other for more than forty years. Jude is an accomplished restaurant manager, Wendy, a published academic who owns a very old dog, called Finn and Adele is an ageing and out of work actress. Sylvie, the dead friend is the connection for the four and we are taken on a journey tackling their losses, loves, friendship, grief and betrayal.
It’s well-written and the setting on the north coast of N.S.W. is divine. Yet I struggled to find any real connection to any of the women. They didn’t seem like good friends, instead they each came across as needy and selfish, barely tolerant of each other. I didn’t understand why they were indeed friends. Jude was an odd character. Confident, well organised, supposedly self-reliant earning her own money yet she’d been a kept mistress for twenty years. The dog, Finn dominated the story a lot in an almost repetitive way. Wendy, seemed a bit dithering and Adele was narcissistic and self-absorbed, more like a teenager than a mature woman and that was a challenge for me to accept.
Yet, I was compelled along as it was an easy read. The second half of the book was almost like watching a dramatic play and I could easily visualise it. Perhaps this was intentional, perhaps not. In the end, I didn’t love it but I didn’t mind it.