“I was aware that he couldn’t be trusted; that the classroom behind him was empty and would be empty for some time; that he was only a matter of heartbeats, a tug of my elbow, and a few whispered words away from pulling me into that room with him.”
Laurel Marks is a stunning, repressed 17-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.
praise for the wood of suicides
"A schoolgirl's crush on her male English teacher leads to mutual obsession in this well-drawn, compelling debut novel."
"Laurel’s narration is self-evaluating, introspective, and provocative. It’s easy to become mesmerized by this story as the downward spiral ultimately becomes clear.”
OFF THE BOOK
"With her debut, Woollett offers a brutal study of female self-loathing.”
“The Wood of Suicides is an affecting and brilliantly insightful book that demonstrates remarkable talent of a young female author.”
"Woollett makes it murky who’s the seducer and who’s seduced"
"The Wood of Suicides is an engaging novel that explores a young woman’s relationship with men and with her sexuality, and it is Woollett’s passionate and intelligent voice that gives this book its heart.”
MAGGIE JOURNAL OF LIVE ART
“An anxious, uneasy and despondent anti-romance novel.”
"Woollett impressively captures the excruciating joy and pain of young love, its nymph-like virtue but also sensual power, as body and soul move on their fateful journey from innocence to experience.”