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In a Dark Wood 2000

"The presence of mental illness, suicide, murder and incest are never allowed to overshadow the confident morality that underlies this predominantly comic and reassuring novel…a triumph for sanity."
Ruth Scurr, TLS

"Terrifyingly intense…Craig's triumph in this book is to underscore the way in which society treats emotions as a disability, something to be either ironised or ignored."
Julia Bell, Financial Times.

"Craig demonstrates that the worlds of the child and the manic depressive are touchingly, comically close…Like a Russian doll, this novel marvelously hides secrets within secrets."
Stephen Knight, The Good Book Guide.

Quotes from the US:

"In a Dark Wood is a first-rate story - both psychologically acute and mythologically convincing - and often very funny as well"
Alison Lurie, novelist, Pulitzer Prize-winner and editor of The Oxford Book of Modern Fairytales.

"Amanda Craig's In a Dark Wood is tantalising, dark,mysterious and strange. Its deft insights cut sharply as it evokes the inside of mental illness with uncanny lucidity and humor."
Andrew Sullivan, winner of the National Book Award 2002 for The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression.

"In a Dark Wood explores the immensely complicated, often open borders between imagination and mental illness. Craig has written a rpofound account of darkness, and she has done it in a passionate, original and beautiful way",
Kay Redfield Jamison, author of An Unquiet Mind.


In A Dark Wood is about Benedick Hunter, an unemployed actor and father on the verge of divorce and a mid-life crisis. His life takes a new direction when he discovers a book of fairy tales, by his mother Laura Perry. In 1965, Laura, an American children's author and illustrator committed suicide in Primrose Hill. Benedick can remember nothing of his life until after her death, but becomes convinced that the stories and their illustrations, suggestively modeled on real people, contain a secret that will reveal why she killed herself. He is right - but, thanks to the elusive nature of fairy-tales, what he discovers is not at all what he expects.

Benedick goes on a quest to discover the true nature of his mother, interviewing those who knew her in the early 1960s. Increasingly erratic, his depression apparently lifts once he arrives in America, accompanied by his small son Cosmo. He visits New York, then travels to the sinister yet seductive landscape of North Carolina, where he meets the woman of his dreams. At last, he discovers not only the truth about Laura, but his own nature.

The short stories The Last Straw and Away in a Manger also feature Benedick Hunter.

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