Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle Reading 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.
"At the Water's Edge" by Sara Gruen
From the author of "Water for Elephants", this is a gripping and poignant love story about a privileged young woman’s awakening as she experiences the devastation of World War II in a tiny village in the Scottish Highlands.
This book blew me away. Martinez doesn't slowly and deliberately construct a logic-driven storyline for us. Instead, he immediately hooks our interest by snaring our sympathy for starving Somalian children, half a world away. Santiago, a Latino writing instructor, and his adult cousin Adam are looking at photographs of emaciated Somalian children and talking of God, responsibility, and apathetic child abuse. And then, with the jarring ring of a telephone, Martinez cold cocks us with a devastatingly sudden and searing revelation of child abuse within Santiago's own family: Santiago's brother-in-law, Tony, has struck his six-year-old child, Chantel, with a hot frying pan, and, we learn later, Tony has also cudgeled his wife, Robin, yet another time. This double-sided image of international and home-front child and spouse abuse triggers such anger within Santiago that he begins planning his revenge against his brother-in-law. This novel, however, is no mere narrative of vengeance. Instead, it's a carefully woven tale of love and offering, with an ending that will surprise every reader with its explosive finality, and yet, from the beginning, Martinez skillfully and quietly prepares us for a revelation that redefines suspense and intensity. I can't imagine this novel being told with more power or surprise. It's valuable for readers to happen upon a book that grips them tightly, one in which they anticipate the ending-and then, without warning, they are stunned in utter disbelief until they think back and realize that in this novel, Martinez thoroughly prepares us for what happens. As a reviewer, I would like to further explicate the ending to which Martinez so skillfully drives. That, however, might undermine the experience for readers so I will say only this - in his finish, Martinez creates a moment of rare and raw emotional power in fiction, one that will render readers numb.
Was this review helpful to you?