- Sign up to be notified by email when the next Oprah's Book Club® pick is announced and available for pre-order.
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
Drowning Ruth: A Novel (Oprah's Book Club) Paperback – Print, July 31, 2001
|New from||Used from|
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Special Offers and Product Promotions
Christina Schwarz's suspenseful debut pivots on two of the lost "virtues" of the past: silence and stoicism. Drowning Ruth opens in 1919, on the heels of the influenza epidemic that followed the First World War. Although there were telephones and motor cars and dance halls in the small towns of Wisconsin in those years, the townspeople remained rigid and forbidding. As a young woman, Amanda Starkey, a Lutheran farmer's daughter, had been firmly discouraged from an inappropriate marriage with a neighboring Catholic boy. A few years later, as a nurse in Milwaukee, she is seduced by a dishonorable man. Her shame sends her into a nervous breakdown, and she returns to the family farm. Within a year, though, her beloved sister Mathilde drowns under mysterious circumstances. And when Mathilde's husband, Carl, returns from the war, he finds his small daughter, Ruth, in Amanda's tenacious grip, and she will tell him nothing about the night his wife drowned. Amanda's parents, too, are long gone. "I killed my parents. Had I mentioned that?" muses Amanda.
I killed them because I felt a little fatigued and suffered from a slight, persistent cough. Thinking I was overworked and hadn't been getting enough sleep, I went home for a short visit, just a few days to relax in the country while the sweet corn and the raspberries were ripe. From the city I brought fancy ribbon, two boxes of Ambrosia chocolate, and a deadly gift... I gave the influenza to my mother, who gave it to my father, or maybe it was the other way around.Schwarz is a skillful writer, weaving her grim tale across several decades, always returning to the fateful night of Mathilde's death. Drowning Ruth displays her gift for pacing and her harsh insistence on the right ending, rather than the cheery one. --Regina Marler --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Christina Schwarz's writing shows a deep empathy for human frailty that lends suspense and poignance to the most ordinary domestic struggles. Visit Amazon's Christina Schwarz Page.
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
I recommend this book very highly.
While the writing is just fine, crisp and tidy, and the characters are well wrought, there's really nothing new here. Certainly, there are no surprises. The book begins in 1919 and ends in 1941. I don't know why. There are no definitive period details that set the era for us (aside from brief mentions of corsets and hair bobbing). No one seems to suffer any of the ill effects that so many suffered in that period between the two world wars. It's a tale, often told, of history repeating itself. Everything is telegraphed, so that one expects exactly what is delivered. The character of Amanda, whose voice is predominant throughout, is so irritating that it's difficult to be sympathetic. And her niece, Ruth, who starts out an interesting, quirky and determined child who often thinks how wonderful it would be to have her own store (a lovely touch), deteriorates in the latter part of the book into a variation on a theme of Amanada and ultimately is just as irritating as her aunt.
The secondary characters, Ruth's father, Carl, and the farm help, Rudy, are more interesting and sympathetic. But the author disposes of Carl about midway through the tale (and doesn't mention him again until the final few pages; and Rudy is merely retired off without ever being allowed any significant input--despite the fact that he's featured throughout the book). From that point on the narrative lumbers to its very predictable conclusion. As a first novel, it's a solid effort, but it suffers from a lack of oxygen. It's like spending a very long evening in a dimly lit room, on an uncomfortable sofa, with people you've just met, who are not gifted in the art of conversation. You can't wait to get outside and gulp down fresh air.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Characters are animated and exciting. Good turning points. Language and presentation are fantastic. Many occasions one will find what is next moments ans suspense... Read morePublished 8 days ago by V Bright Saigal- Author on Amazon, Novelist, Poet &Advertising Consultant, Reviewer & Book PR servic
the big surprise plot twist was not such a big surprise..a mediocre melodramaPublished 13 days ago by Ellen L. Schoonover
This book was really good. It wasn't a couldn't-put-down, but I did finish it over time. It was enjoyable.Published 16 days ago by TJ
A very intense story of a woman and trying to live with her secret.Published 21 days ago by Ellen Marie
Couldn't put it down. Read in two days. Would like to read more by this author.Published 22 days ago by Kindle Customer
This novel kept me guessing and intrigued the whole time. I enjoyed it.Published 1 month ago by Michelle Seelye Drucker