In a Dark Wood: A Novel

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Nan A. Talese, 2000 - Fiction - 309 pages
2 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."

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Eyejaybee - LibraryThing

Rather an odd book - I was unable to summon up any empathy at all for the principal character, though the strength of the story was sufficient to keep me reading to the end. Not up to Amanda Craig's best, but still worth reading. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - ntempest - LibraryThing

I wanted to love this. The framework was fascinating, with the built in fairy tales written by the protagonist's mother, and woven right into the story. But some of the errors just made me insane ... Read full review


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About the author (2000)

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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