Stone Yard Devotional by Charlotte Wood
Not a word is wasted in this lyrical meditation on one woman’s life choices. After attending a number of retreats at a Catholic nuns convent, the protagonist decides to stay and become a member of their community (although she doesn’t enter the order). Her name is never revealed. Her thoughts are recorded in diary-like entries.
The convent is located on the stark plains of the Monaro, part of the Snowy Mountains Region of NSW. The quiet rhythm of the monastic life is disrupted, firstly by a mouse plague, and then by the return of the skeletal remains of a nun who left decades before to minister overseas. She had gone missing, presumed murdered. Accompanying the bones is another nun who creates unrest in the community.
This is not a plot-driven book! It’s quiet and contemplative.
I found this book very moving. Wood explores one woman’s struggle to come to terms with the tension created by not believing in God, but taking refuge in a religious community. She considers questions about forgiveness, goodness and hope.