The Wood of Suicides

The Wood of Suicides

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By Laura Elizabeth Woollett

ISBN 9781579623500


One might compare Laura Woollett to Shelagh Delany, whose play, A Taste of Honey was produced when she was eighteen years old. How rare it was to see such strong, mature, and sophisticated writing by a teenager, for few of them think that way! Yet Woollett began The Wood of Suicides as a teenager herself. Gifted writers that young are aberrations, in the best sense, for only a rare one can write original and spellbinding work at such a young age.

Woollett's narrator, Laurel Marks is a stunning, repressed seventeen-year-old schoolgirl. She also has a weakness for older men most of all her father, whom she'll do anything to impress. After his sudden death, Laurel is sent off to a boarding school where she shortly latches onto a new love-object: her English teacher, Mr. Hugh Steadman.

Following an encounter in the woods, a flirtation develops between the two, marked by hopeful highs and suicidal lows, on Laurel's part. Their romance is eventually consummated one November afternoon, in the arbor where they first met. But Laurel's middle-aged teacher proves to be a more violent lover than she ever anticipated. Like the doomed chase between Daphne and Apollo, Steadman pursues and Laurel recedes. 

Woollett charts the course of their obsession with an unswerving eye, describing their unbridled desire for one another and the reckless and tortured course on which they have embarked and of Laurel's unshed grief for her father, whose absence will be either her salvation or her undoing.

LAURA ELIZABETH WOOLLETT, was born in Perth, Western Australia, in 1989. Her initial inspiration for The Wood of Suicides came after looking up the origins of her name, and discovering the root Laurel and the myth of Apollo and Daphne. She began writing the novel as an undergraduate at the University of Melbourne, where she was exposed to further influences like Freudian theory and the Romantic poets. In 2012, she earned an honors degree in creative writing. While Laura continues to be interested in the mythical, she has recently turned her eye toward more contemporary subjects. She is currently at work on a collection of short stories about the lovers and accomplices of bad men, The Love of a Bad Man.