We Are Water by Wally Lamb – ARC
July 24, 2013
I just finished the ARC of Wally Lamb’s We Are Water, coming out this November, and am eager to pass it on. Over the course of 561 pages, Lamb meticulously unravels the gut-wrenching secrets and relationship dynamics of three generations of a New England family, using multiple-viewpoint narratives that progress in overlapping detail. If you read to the end, though, you’ll be rewarded with a crescendo of action and an emotional ending with a hint of suspense.
Central to everything is a flood that wiped out much of the town of Three Rivers, Connecticut in 1963. One little girl named Annie loses her mother and little sister in the disaster, later marrying psychologist Orion Oh and raising his three children while nurturing frustrated artistic ambitions of her own in her spare time. Her career finally breaks through thanks to her curator girlfriend, Viveca, for whom she eventually leaves her husband Orion Oh. Orion, Annie, and their children narrate most of the chapters close to the present, while a subplot about an African American artist who used to live in their back cottage before the flood (and who died under suspicious circumstances) connects the two time periods as well. This is an intense novel touching on marriage, sexuality, class, abusive relationships, racism, and the surprising ways suppressed memories and secrets can surface and affect everyone, even many years later.
We once had several ARC’s of this but it has been popular. If you haven’t had a chance to read, please comment on this post and I’ll send it to you next week.