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 dating brings 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--hold the 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 friends and 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 terrifyingly psychological. 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 our lives.
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|Title of Family & Relationships eBook: In a Dark Wood|
|Release Date: 02-19-2002|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
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|Parent title||In a Dark Wood|
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In a Dark Wood
The book, her book, was bound in black, with the words North of Nowhere indented in worn gold on the spine. Dirty and dusty, the boards loose under the cloth, it resembled a kind of withered bat. I looked at it with vague distaste. Then, almost as if it had suddenly come to life, it slithered out of my grasp, jabbed my foot, bounced and splayed open. I picked it up. I didn't know then how dangerous fairy tales can be.
I was trying to separate my possessions from those of my wife, Georgina. A biography in books, this is why some people scan your shelves, in the manner of a Roman seer gazing at entrails. There were duplicate editions of T. S. Eliot and Shakespeare, of Beckett, Pinter, and Joyce. My own copies of Conrad, Dostoevsky, and Waugh jumbled up with her Austen, George Eliot and the Brontës...the male versus the female canon. The plays I had been in, with my parts underlined in lurid orange. Her university texts, with notes scribbled in pencil or biro. Then single volumes, signifying union: paperbacks stained with the oils of lost summers, whose cracked spines still released cascades of fine sand or faded blades of pale grass; hardbacks generously inscribed to mark birthdays or Christmas, passed from one to the other at bedtime as a preliminary to love; bound proofs of new books, battered ghosts of old ones. All of these, left to me to divide and put into boxes. She had taken the children's books, as she had taken the children. We had been separated now for over a year, and were getting divorced.
I had been astonished by how much suffering this had caused, and was now weary. My body had taken on a life of its own, in which it wept while I remained an embarrassed parent, unable to con...