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In a Dark Wood: A Novelby Amanda Craig
Synopses & Reviews
Interspersing the magic of fairy tales with a wry yet touching narrative, Amanda Craig examines the thin line between fantasy and reality, creativity and mental illness.
Benedick Hunter is a recently divorced, out-of-work, thirty-nine-year-old actor. Feeling both guilty and sorry for himself, he blunders through weekends with his two spirited children and fends off various women desperate to snare an eligible man, all the time fearing that he is on the brink of a nervous breakdown.
His life takes on a new direction, however, when he discovers a long-forgotten book of fairy tales his mother wrote and illustrated decades earlier. Drawn to its pages, he becomes entranced by the hints of reality embedded in the stories, from thinly veiled portraits of his own father and his parents’ acquaintances to alluring glimpses of his mother as a young woman. Convinced that the stories can explain his mother’s suicide when he was six and put an end to his agonizing mood swings, Benedick embarks on a journey to untangle the past, a journey that eventually takes him to the heart of his own nature, modern fatherhood, manic depression, and the elusive character of fairy-tales.
With imagination and incisive wit, Amanda Craig has written a novel that was selected as one of the “best of the year’s books” by the The Times of London, which wrote, “Although not frightening enough to give you sleepless nights, Craig’s wonderful, page-turning storytelling will keep you up way past your time for bed.”
From the eBook edition.
Resentful, embittered, and self-pitying, recently divorced, out-of-work actor Benedick Hunter discovers new meaning in his life when he stumbles upon a forgotten book of fairy tales his mother had written and illustrated decades earlier, stories that provide an illuminating glimpse of his own life and the secrets of his past.
Thirty-nine, recently divorced, jobless, Benedick Hunter is an actor heading in the exact opposite direction of happily ever after: everything from spending time with his own children to the prospect of datingbrings him down. So when he comes across a children's book his mother Laura wrote, he decides that her life and work--haunting stories replete with sinister woods and wicked witches and brave girls who battle giants--holdthe key to figuring out why his own life is such a mess.
Setting out to find out why Laura killed herself when he was six, Benedick travels from his native England to the U.S. in search of her friendsand his own long-lost relatives. As he grows obsessed with Laura's books and their veiled references to reality Benedick enters into a dark wood-a dark wood that is both hilariously real and terrifyinglypsychological. It is then that his story becomes an exploration not only of his mother's genius but also of the nature of depression, and of the healing power of storytelling in ourlives.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
About the Author
AMANDA CRAIG is the author of Foreign Bodies, A Private Place, and A Vicious Circle, which is currently being developed for BBC television. In a Dark Wood is the first of her novels to be published in the United States. Craig, who writes regularly for The Times, The Sunday Times, and The New Statesman, lives in London.
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