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The Body Is Water Paperback – July 1, 1999

11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A pregnant, unmarried schoolteacher returns to her childhood home in a New Jersey seaside resort town in this expertly wrought, acutely observed first novel. Jane Haus narrates the last six months of her pregnancy, during which she revives relationships with her crotchety father and her older sister and struggles to understand the lasting emotional damage wrought upon them by her unhappy mother's illness and death. Fluid writing and finely shaped characters?from each family member to minor players, such as Jane's obstetrician, her high-school golf teacher and one of her students?form the backbone of this affecting domestic drama. As the Haus family enigma, Jane's mother is the book's weakest character, one whose wispy, distant presence deprives the several flashbacks of emotional suspense. In contrast, the present-day narrative, which dominates, is propelled by the surviving family's gripping, poignant attempts to overcome their unhappy history and support Jane. A marvelously executed childbirth scene proves a strong metaphor for the painful emotional changes that Jane, her sister and her father experience. One finishes the story of this eccentric family wishing it were just beginning.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

This first novel is the story of a woman who tries to make sense of her own life after her mother dies of cancer. The emotional turmoil Jane experiences over her mother's illness and death doesn't ever go away entirely, and Schumacher describes how she navigates the turmoil while trying to remain balanced. As the book opens, Jane returns home to fill in many of the gaps regarding her mother's life. Not coincidentally, she is pregnant, and she needs the security and comfort that her father and her sister, Bee, can provide. She also needs the downstairs tenant, Bill Denzer, to help her search for the letters and diaries that her mother left behind. When a complication in her pregnancy nearly kills her, Bill saves her by rushing her to the hospital. Schumacher (creative writing, St. Olaf Coll.) has published stories in anthologies and literary magazines. With enormous power and clarity, she here presents a thoroughly believable tale about love, loss, and difficult family relationships. Recommended for general collections.?Lisa Nussbaum, Euclid P.L., Ohio
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; First Edition edition (July 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380807041
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380807048
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,079,784 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 18, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
A very mellow, well written book which keeps your attention, not due to suspense but for the mere pleasure of reading it. It is best described as "warm, witty and peopled by likable characters in ordinary circumstances. I enjoyed it the first time around, and the second, and the third! Looking forward to this type of book, by a very good author again. Sad to see it hasn't happened yet.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Robincoh@aol.com on August 27, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Set on the New Jersey shore, this easy reading book introduces the reader to a young woman who is about to become a unmarried mother. She is living with her father who was abusive to her as a child. She works through old and new feelings as she prepares for the birth of her child. The book is very gentle on the reader as well as on the main character. The supporting characters are also well developed. The story is realistic and engaging.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
If you don't like emotional books where the characters are sad and thoughtful, then this is not the book for you. Julie Schumacher tells the story here of a family that is doing it's best to love one another, but sometimes our best is simply not good enough. Schumacher is adept at naming these often unnameable problems of life in stunning prose that at times just tore me apart--and this is the highest praise. A wonderful book by a wonderful writer.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 2, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
One of the most interesting and well developed characters in modern fiction. You needn't have anything in common with her or her family to like them, and know they ring true. Ms. Schumacher has a wit matched only by Nelson Demille in "The Gold Coast". This type of author does not write often enough.
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By birder on September 27, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
A wonderfully written book about a complicated family. Perfect descriptions of relationships. I did not want the book to end, so slowed down, reading only a few pages toward the end.
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Format: Kindle Edition
An interesting page turner. After this and Dear Committee Members, I'll be looking for her books to continue to read her.
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