Miranda Darling

Scribe Publications
3 April 2024


Miranda Darling

A black comedy, set in suburbia, about one woman’s struggle to be free.

When Winona Dalloway begins her day — in the peaceful early hours before her children, that ‘tiny tornado of little hands and feet’, wake up — she doesn’t know that by the end of it, everything in her world will have changed.

On the outside, Winona is a seemingly unremarkable young mother: unobtrusive, quietly going about her tasks. But within is a vivid, chaotic self, teeming with voices — a mind both wild and precise.

And meanwhile, a storm is brewing …


Winona Dalloway wakes up at 5am to steal a sense of freedom. From the outside, she seems an ordinary suburban mother/wife/person, but inside the thunder is growing louder and louder. Chaos stirs and swells into the corners of her mind, revealing intimate truths that one hopes would never surface. It felt a privilege to be let inside Winona’s world on this significant day – a day that could change the entire course of her life.

Thunderhead is one of those books that had me receiving curious looks on the tram for I couldn’t contain my snorts of laughter and sighs of solidarity. Completely immersed and becoming closely tied with Winona’s reality, I had to remind myself to ease my grip on the pages. Hints of Sylvia Plath and Shirley Jackson seep off the page as Winona’s escapist narratives and inside jokes guide us – willingly – into the eye of a storm.

As Winona says, ‘We feel elation in the vicarious freedom of the runaways even if we are too frightened to run ourselves – perhaps because we are too frightened to run ourselves.’ I found myself sprinting alongside Winona, urging her to run faster and not look back, no matter what might be at risk.

Miranda Darling writes from the absolute edge and leads us atop a tightrope strung high between submission and freedom. This book is the loss of balance, the breathlessness before the fall. Sharp, complex, and painfully relatable, Thunderhead is a firecracker of a story that lives up to its title. Darling’s dry wit and stark prose swallowed me whole, and I know I’ll be ruminating over it for a while to come.

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