Stone Yard Devotional Stone Yard Devotional

Stone Yard Devotional

    • 3.5 • 34 Ratings
    • $14.99
    • $14.99

Publisher Description

A deeply moving novel about forgiveness, grief, and what it means to be 'good', from the award-winning author of The Natural Way of Things and The Weekend.

A woman abandons her city life and marriage to return to the place of her childhood, holing up in a small religious community hidden away on the stark plains of the Monaro.

She does not believe in God, doesn't know what prayer is, and finds herself living this strange, reclusive life almost by accident. As she gradually adjusts to the rhythms of monastic life, she finds herself turning again and again to thoughts of her mother, whose early death she can't forget.

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 left the community decades before to minister to deprived women in Thailand - then disappeared, presumed murdered.

Finally, a troubling visitor to the monastery pulls the narrator further back into her past.

With each of these disturbing arrivals, the woman faces some deep questions. Can a person be truly good? What is forgiveness? Is loss of hope a moral failure? And can the business of grief ever really be finished?

A meditative and deeply moving novel from one of Australia's most acclaimed and best loved writers.

'Wood joins the ranks of writers such as Nora Ephron, Penelope Lively and Elizabeth Strout.' THE GUARDIAN UK

Fiction & Literature
3 October
Allen & Unwin
Allen & Unwin Pty Limited

Customer Reviews

Martyn Tilse ,


Is death the elephant in the room? Unseen when we are young, ignored as we live and, perhaps, even welcomed when we are old? I have been thinking about death more often over the past few years as I add to my list of reasons to see my doctor. Or should I say doctors! They say that 90% of our lifetime health care budget is spent in the last two years of our life. Of course, prognostically, that’s no help. We all live as long as we do.

I’d never really given it much thought before but now I wonder if religion is more about dying than living. Who knows? I’m a very casual philosopher indeed.

Two important things happened to me while I was reading “Stone Yard Devotional”, Charlotte Wood’s new book. The first was the sudden and unexpected death of a dear friend and the second was a thumbs up for a hip replacement. This combination of an abrupt ending and continuing hope dovetailed quite nicely into the book I was so enjoying.

“Stone Yard Devotional” is a diary of reflections, of memories, from the life of an unnamed narrator. Simple memories. Memories of events that might happen to us all, if we live long enough. The writing is simple, the story is simple, the events are simple but the effect, like life itself, is complex.

The older I am becoming the more I read, and the more I read the slower I read. The more I go back and reread a sentence that I like. It’s like reaching for another cream bun or vanilla slice. Just tasting the sentence again is delicious.

“Stone Yard Devotional” is delicious. The writing direct and satisfying. Very moving. Very relatable. Rather like thinking about our own life. The things you did. The things you should have done. Your failure to learn. Your difficulty really understanding another’s perspective. Your lack of compassion. Your lack of forgiveness. Oh, so so much.

The constant background in the book is religion. Does it help? Does it hinder? As with all the big questions in life the answers seem manifold; yes, no, maybe.

“Stone Yard Devotional”, for me, was like a human thread, picked up, followed for a while and then dropped back into some cosmic sewing box. I came away thinking, “Compassion. If I only have compassion, all will be well.”

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