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Holy Water: A Novel Audio CD – Bargain Price, June 16, 2010


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Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Tantor Media; Unabridged,Unabridged CD edition (June 16, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400116716
  • ASIN: B007MXSQ4K
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 5.5 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,290,586 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The latest from Othmer (The Futurist) reads like a very contemporary Heart of Darkness run through the satire blender. Longtime company man Henry Tuhoe has a self-absorbed wife who is learning witchcraft and pressuring him to have a vasectomy; he's increasingly alienated from his friends, and is forced to decide between getting fired or accepting a new position opening a call center in an obscure Third World country called Galado. So he takes the job. That the call center doesn't have working telephones or employees who can speak English are just a couple of Henry's concerns in a plot that bounces between everyday realism and the absurd. His new workplace is as morally and spiritually corrupt as the corporate culture back home, and Henry makes it his personal humanitarian mission to help provide clean water to Galado's poorest citizens. Othmer wrings humor from nearly every facet of contemporary culture, with many of the most comical moments taking place in brief anecdotes (as with a Gulf War I re-enactor). It's well-done satire—dark, but not too—in the vein of Gary Shteyngart and early Colson Whitehead. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

Former adman Othmer follows his memoir, Adland (2009), with his second novel. Henry Tuhoe, vice president of underarm research for an antiperspirant maker, is paralyzed by self-doubt after an ill-advised move to the suburbs. Then his department is eliminated and he’s transferred to the tiny kingdom of Galado on the Indian-Chinese border, where he’s to oversee a call center for a Vermont-based bottled-water company. Unfortunately, Galado’s own water is a toxic stew, and, ironically, plastic bottles are forbidden. Worse, the country is a kleptocracy run by a steroid-crazed prince whose grandiose dreams of multinational investment are threatened by popular rebellion. Othmer is a sharp and intelligent writer, offering scathing takes on the realities of global commerce and the myopia of wealthy nations. But he’s frustrating, too. The book opens with a piece of bravura absurdity—a corporate outing on a burning river—but never quite regains that intensity. When it comes to novelistic housekeeping, he’s too conservative and the story loses momentum. It’s a good book. But, one suspects, if Othmer went truly gonzo, he might write something great. --Keir Graff --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

More About the Author


James P. Othmer spent the last 20 years seeking the title, "Former Adman." It was not until the first chapter of The Futurist appeared in the Virginia Quarterly Review and was named a finalist for the National Magazine Award in fiction that his dream (sort of)came true. A graduate of the creative writing program at New York University, Othmer has had stories and humorous essays and op-eds published in the VQR, The New York Times, Nylon magazine, The Chattahoochee Review, Madison Review and other publications. His long strange path to publication included gigs as, in no particular order, soulless ad guy, newspaper reporter, gofer at a wine magazine and, for parts of four glorious summers, a brick layer at a mental institution. He lives in Mahopac, NY with his family and is working on his second novel.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By John McNally on June 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover
If you've been looking for Kurt Vonnegut's successor, look no further. James P. Othmer has picked up the master satirist's torch and taken off running with it. The moment you meet Henry Tuhoe, Vice President of Underarm Research, you know you've entered a world that is at once wildly absurd and frighteningly credible. If ever there was a novel for these troubled and bizarre times, this is it. What The Futurist predicted, Holy Water confirms: Mr. Othmer is on the brink of a major career. So it goes.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By S. Michael Bowen on August 9, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Holy Water opens on a polluted river that's literally on fire. Earlier, our corporate-schmuck hero rides past rows of gravestones on his morning commute, imagining that he lies beneath every one of them.
Lousy job, lousy marriage, lack of purpose, spiritual emptiness -- Henry Tuhoe might as well be dead.
Images of mortality abound in James P. Othmer's angry but funny anti-corporate satire. The "dark portal" of a highway tunnel seems like "some kind of urban genocide machine." Henry's wife has insisted that he get a vasectomy, and as he reaches down to reassure himself about his recently shaved testicles, "he feels as if he's holding not a surgically altered reproductive organ but two tiny bombs planted by terrorists of the self, waiting to blow his life apart."
As if on cue, corporate restructuring detonates Henry's life -- blowing him all the way to a fictional Asian nation where he's supposed to set up a call center for a bottled-water company. Caught between an insane pro-growth monarch and peasant rebels who espouse pacifism but wield machetes, Henry gets his eyes opened to the fact that the magic little kingdom of Galado is actually "a corrupt, filthy, environmentally bankrupt f---ing kleptocracy" in which most people don't have access to clean drinking water and hundreds of children die every day of diarrhea.
Othmer -- who has written a memoir and earlier novel about the fraudulence of advertising -- draws characters broadly to score satirical points: the smarmy boss, the desperate suburban-dad beer experts, the Aussie wheeler-dealer, the sociopathic dwarf-dictator, the empowered wife who just joined a coven. But they all have hearts and supply snappy dialogue.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Shawn on June 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover
A writer-friend turned me on to Othmer's first book, The Futurist, which I loved, but Holy Water is even better. It's funny and it's strange, but most of all, it's true. This is when satire really clicks: you're laughing even as you're weeping. Buy this one. (From a book collector's point-of-view, Othmer is one of those writers whose first editions you're going to want. His stock is going to keep going up. Trust me.)
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Format: Hardcover
othmer follows his excellent debut, the futurist, with even more excellence in holy water. the name gary shteyngart comes up a lot when people talk about othmer, and i can see why-- these two can skewer the modern man with equal poise, pathos, and humor. the name vonnegut comes up a lot, too, but othmer has much more range than vonnegut, so i don't like that comparison so much. what i like most about othmer's protagonist, henry tuhoe is that he's flawed in a quintessentially modern way, but he yearns to be a better person. the jacket describes it as a blackly satirical piece of fiction, but i think holy water deserves more credit than that, because it's got heart.
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