In this essential, illuminating book, award-winning writer Charlotte Wood shares the insights she has gained over a career paying close attention to her own mind, to the world around her and to the way she and others work.
Drawing on research and decades of observant conversation and immersive reading, Charlotte shares what artists can teach the rest of us about inspiration and hard work, how to pursue truth in art and life, and to find courage during the difficult times: facing down what we fear and keeping going when things seem hopeless.
Acclaimed Australian author Charlotte Wood returns with non-fiction title The Luminous Solution, which provides a reflection on her writing career to date and what she’s learnt about herself and her work since she first started putting pen to paper approximately twenty years ago.
The Luminous Solution prompts creative thinking and creative reflection. There are intermittent references to COVID-19 and how the pandemic has impacted Charlotte’s writing. This isn’t an overly long book, and it doesn’t need to be. Each chapter provides a snapshot into Charlotte’s process, and what she believes could resonate with others.
“This bolt of understanding that contemporary attitudes echoed historical ones, that this loop of hatred seemed ever-repeating, lit a fuse of fury deep inside my writer’s brain. But a novel requires years of immersion in your material. This was ugly stuff, bleak and paralysing.”
The Luminous Solution shifts between introspection – lessons, learnings and slight musings that Charlotte shares – and a deeper dive into her creative process, particularly relating to her 2015 novel, The Natural Way of Things. The Luminous Solution attracts a fairly recognisable audience – works that delve into creative process and inspiration will always find a valued audience, whether you’ve read the authors previous works or not.
There are a string of insights in The Luminous Solution that I imagine could aid writers, and I think perhaps it might comfort writers who feel they’ve struggled with their work. It’s somewhat reassuring to read that The Natural Way of Things was not an easy or seamless book to write. I read that novel when it first came out and whilst it tackles very heavy topics, the writing is beautiful and the novel worthy of its many accolades. It’s somewhat comforting to find out more about its creation.
“Creativity as violent birth, as approaching death – this is absurd melodrama. Of course it is. And yet…at times my writing process has been so full of darkness that descriptions like these are the only ones that come close to the truth.”
As with all her novels, Charlotte’s writing in The Luminous Solution is clean and stripped back. Words aren’t used unnecessarily, and we move between stories and tales quite quickly. A lot of the book is designed to leave you wondering – they will plant some kind of thought or idea in your mind and let it ponder the possibilities, which is quite perfect for the creative reader.
“I spent many months thinking about these discoveries, sorting and parsing them, enriched by the whole experience. But at the end of it all, after the research was completed and the doctorate finished and award, came that pesky and familiar and important question: So what? What does all this mean for the person sitting down before the blank page?”
Reminiscent and reflective, The Luminous Solution is recommended for readers interested in the craft of writing. Readership skews 30+
Thank you to the publisher for mailing me a review copy in exchange for an honest review.
The Luminous Solution
Allen & Unwin Book Publishers