A novella by Daniel Davis Wood
In the midst of a brutal winter, a man commits an unspeakable crime. A decade after the fact, the fallout is pieced together by another man who was once a friend of the perpetrator. But as the free man tells the prisoner’s story, his words become marked by his efforts to do justice to all of the people whose lives have been touched by this singular event — and his search for a means of imaginative sympathy that might rescue the victim from her degradation.
Can sympathy alone rescue the victim from desecration and despair? Is moral imagination capacious enough to provide restitution? In hypnotic, lyrical prose, Daniel Davis Wood’s powerful novella probes the complex ethics of doing justice to the private tragedies of other people.
Daniel Davis Wood is a novelist and essayist based in Scotland. His début novel, Blood and Bone, was published in 2014 and won the Viva La Novella Prize in his native Australia. He is also the author of a monograph, Frontier Justice in the Novels of James Fenimore Cooper and Cormac McCarthy, and two further novels: In Ruins and At the Edge of the Solid World, the latter published by Brio Books in 2020.
Listen to Daniel Davis Wood interviewed on the Beyond the Zero podcast.
Praise for Unspeakable
To write about trauma often involves exploiting it in some way, imbuing it with meaning or thematic resonance, using it to explore or expose some commentary or observation about the world or the human condition. In this regard, [Daniel Davis] Wood is deeply preoccupied with the ethics of fiction writing. He purposefully avoids naivety and the pretence of innocence, presenting a self-reflective awareness of the constructedness of fiction not as a form of postmodern playfulness, but as a moral necessity.Julian Novitz
Sydney Review of Books