The Australian newspaper has described Charlotte Wood as 'one of our most original and provocative writers.' She is the author of five novels and a book of non- fiction. Her latest novel, The Natural Way of Things, won the 2016 Indie Book of the Year and Indie Fiction Book of the Year prizes, has been shortlisted for the Stella Prize and the Victorian Premier's Literary Award, and longlisted for the Miles Franklin Award. It will be published in the UK and North America in 2016. Charlotte was also editor of the short story anthology Brothers and Sisters, and for three years edited The Writer's Room Interviews magazine. Her work has been shortlisted for various prizes including the Christina Stead, Kibble and Miles Franklin Awards. Two novels - The Children and The Natural Way of Things - have been optioned for feature films.
Wood's first book was superbly polished, her second was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin, so it is no surprise that her third novel, The Children, captivates from the first dramatic paragraph. This novel centres on the complex and compelling relationship of three siblings, who return home to the small country town of their youth after their father suffers horrific injuries from a fall. The three are forced to confront one another and themselves, due to their father's comatose state. Wounds, worries and woes from their childhood and recent times are thus awakened, and they struggle to maintain sanity as a stranger, with an ominous obsession, watches on. This stranger brings to the tale a shadowy tone, reminiscent of McEwan's Enduring Love, and introduces themes of fixation and self-appointed attachments. Wood's detailed observations of the connections (however severed) of family ties are honest without being overdone or demanding. The characters acting among this haunting prose are the real strength of Wood's work. And watching this family's suffering, their different ways of coping and grieving is even more transfixing as a sinister element weaves throughout this story. An Australian Jodi Picoult? Definitely comparable to Picoult's themes, but more aware of, and attuned and appealing to Australian readers of the literary family drama, laced with social commentary and mystery. Lucy Meredith is a bookseller for Angus and Robertson Brookside, and has a degree in creative writing