Re-reading Lucy Wood

My book group chose Lucy Wood’s collection Diving Belles for this month, which gave me a welcome excuse to re-read it. I enjoyed it even more the second time around, and – having read Weathering quite recently – gained a greater appreciation of Wood’s approach in general.

By coincidence, Max Cairnduff reviewed Diving Belles the other week; like me, he loved it (I wasn’t surprised, as we tend to have quite similar taste in books). One of his comments that I found particularly interesting was that, even though the metaphors in Wood’s stories aren’t the subtlest, he was more forgiving of this than he’d usually be.

Thinking about this in the broader context of Wood’s work, I am struck that her fiction inhabits a space where metaphor becomes interchangeable with action and landscape. She can get away with using broad metaphors, because they are the foundation of her work, rather than its end-point. To borrow an expression from Ethan Robinson,  magic is a ‘living presence’ in Wood’s stories; this is a key quality that draws me to her work, and why it continues to haunt me.

Book details (Foyles affiliate links)

Diving Belles (2012) by Lucy Wood, Bloomsbury paperback

Weathering (2015) by Lucy Wood, Bloomsbury hardback


  1. I like the sound of this book a lot. And given that Jon McGregor is one of my favourite writers, I think I would like it.

    • David H

      13th August 2015 at 4:34 pm

      Definitely have a look, Cathy. McGregor and Wood are very different writers in some ways, but both capture a sense of strangeness in the midst of everyday life.

  2. It’s an excellent point David, and I think a correct one. Her metaphors are blunt, but they’re also true within the fiction. A start, not an end.

  3. I loved Weathering, so it’s time I caught up with Diving Belles! Meanwhile I’m hoping to catch her event at Edbookfest

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