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Water, Carry Me Hardcover – February 28, 2000


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover; First Edition edition (February 28, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1573221384
  • ISBN-13: 978-1573221382
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,222,012 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Entrapment is a recurring theme in the art of Thomas Moran. His first novel, The Man in the Box, concerns a Jew hiding from Nazis in a secret, boxlike room in an Austrian farmer's barn. His next, The World I Made for Her, features a protagonist imprisoned within his own disease-ravaged body. In Water, Carry Me, Moran expands beyond physical constraints to explore the greatest trap of all: love. When we first meet Una Moss, she is in her final year of medical school in Ireland. Orphaned at the age of 8, she has grown up uneasily straddling two worlds: that of her working-class grandfather, Rawney, with whom she lives in a village outside of Cork, and the upper-class milieu of private school and moneyed friends. Early in the novel Moran hints at the political themes that will soon enmesh her: Rawney, a railroad engineer, frequently carries mysterious crates "all the way to Sligo, up near the Ulster border," and boasts of his "dangerous friends." In reality, though, his friends are more endangered than dangerous: Mungo, the fisherman who occasionally brings strange packages ashore in his boat, is the victim of a mysterious shipwreck; Des and Mick, who help load the contraband, are both picked up by the police, only to reappear weeks later with "a hole in their lives, an awful, secret space, a haunting."

Indeed everyone in Moran's novel is haunted in some way by the conflict in Northern Ireland. Una herself was orphaned because of her father's involvement with one side or the other:

The violence is like a virus moving invisibly through our blood, the IRA and the Ulster Defense Association the Typhoid Marys of it. It kills some, and deadens the hearts of the rest of us. Nobody but idiots--and the mad fanatics--are immune.
Neither, it turns out, is Una. Though at first she manages to lead a fairly normal life--going to school, spending time with her friends, and even falling in love with charming Aidan Ferrel--eventually the Troubles engulf her, too, and it is love that proves to be her undoing. In the haunting, heartbreaking Water, Carry Me Moran weaves the political and the personal into a net so subtle that his characters don't know they've been caught in it until it's too late. --Alix Wilber

From Library Journal

Though unclear until its conclusion, Moran's compelling third novel continues his explorations of confinement and memory. As Una Moss, a young Irish Catholic medical student from Cobh and the heroine of the story, notes, "Times past are not times gone, so long as they live inside you. My memory's like a theater?." For Una, her memories of floating peacefully in the sea are all she will have to sustain her during her coming ordeal. Like so many Irish, she has found herself tangled in "the troubles," even though she is unwilling to accept heir reality. After her mother and father are killed in a car "accident" when she is eight, her Grandda, a crotchety old railway engineer who makes weekly runs to Sligo, takes care of her. Life goes on, and when, as a medical student, she meets Aidan Ferrel, she thinks that at last she has found "the one." He adores her, but he is very quiet about his past. Born in the North, he does not like talking about the things he has seen, and when he does, he expresses only repulsion at the excesses of both sides. All too soon reality strikes in the form of an "18th century" plaque that piques the interest of an airport security guard dog. This is a well-crafted, haunting tale filled with very human characters caught in a web much bigger than themselves. Highly recommended for all public and larger academic libraries.
David W. Henderson, Eckerd Coll. Lib., St. Petersburg, FL
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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This is a bittersweet love story.
Jan McGreger
I borrowed this book from a college library and the story clung to me until I finally bought my own copy.
M. Iverson
This is a story that you won't want to put down and that you will be sorry to see end.
T. J. Mathews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Dorothy J. C. Kozak on March 8, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Water Carry Me is a thoughtful, thoughtprovoking, and searingly emotional novel that jarrs the thinking and pushes at the heartstrings. Having initially read this book for business, I reread the book for pleasure, finding it impossible to escape its powerful themes of family, loyalty, and passionate committment. Although the reader may initially think the plot is a straightforward, standard thriller, there are numerous twists and turns along the way that keep one guessing as to the author's next maneuver. The main protagonist is a strong, heroic character, and the overall tone of the novel establishes an emotional connection to her from the outset. Overall, this is a thorough, well crafted novel with a wealth of thematic material to offer its audience.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Tonya on April 14, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This was absolutely the most beautiful, and tragic book I have ever read. Love written about has never been more poetic and more in tune with what a woman's heart longs for. At the same time, I feel as if I am in mourning from reading this book. My heart is shattered and somehow I know that no reader will be left untouched by such haunting ,descriptive prose. It was like reading a love poem that enters into your heart and promises to never leave. I won't stop thinking about this book for quiet awhile.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Lynn Adler on May 19, 2000
Format: Audio Cassette
The story and the words of this haunting and beautifully written story were the water that carried me through. It has been a few weeks since I finished the book. I am a prolific reader, and this this book stands out and stands tall. I was surprised and touched by its brilliant prose that read like poetry and more by the fate of the character, but I don't think one would have been possible without the other. At the end, one does feel very close to grief, the kind that makes you double over and scream silently. The tragedy of Una is heightened by the depth of her love and innocence, by the beauty of the landscape and the language, next to the incomprehension of cruelty and being caught in a political struggle that one has not sought. I feel that I have to immediately read "Man in the Box" and everything else that Moran has written and will write.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Flavia von Vogrig on March 29, 2000
Format: Hardcover
A fabulous review in the Washington Post Book World proclaimed Una Moss the 22-year-old Irish narrator of WATER CARRY ME to be "one of the most remarkable characters to grace fiction's pages".
I have a two-year-old demanding boy and I need to be enthralled with every little bit of reading I squeeze in at night. So I bought the book. I loved it and I totally believed the novel's beautiful and sad world. And for a short while each night it was also 'my world'- because a part of me always becomes the protagonist, male or female when I am truly seduced by a good writer. This book does that!
Una's voice is so genuine I could hear her accent, and the Irish sea town so real that I heard the sounds of everyday life as I read. I heard the violence and the terror, the shouts and the guns of Irish politics. I also heard Una's grandfather Rawney spin his tales. He is so unique I felt I must have met him once. I heard the young lovers in their most intimate moments, I understood their torments and inner secrets. It was real and I was enthralled. I don't normally care about Ireland's 'Troubles' but with this novel I found my precious free time put to good use and my money gladly spent. Thomas Moran is a true great writer.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Marsha Lytle on June 2, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Owning an Irish American newspaper, and reviewing over one hundred books with Irish themes the last three years, I now have to revise my list of top ten favorite books, having just completed "Water, Carry Me" last night. As other reviewers have hinted, it's a book that stays with you. I woke up in the middle of the night still agonizing over the lovers, Uma and Aidan.
I would love to see a sequel, with Aidan redeeming himself, writing to substain Uma's spirits, but I suppose he is beyond redemption and would have to live with his guilt, as he has all the years since the Remembrance Day Celebration.
I have been in Northern Ireland, have visited the IRA prisoners in Long Kesh, questioning their choices and commitment. It is almost beyond understanding, though they've often tried to explain it to me. As an American, perhaps we can never understand.
I also write novels about the Troubles, but in "Water,Carry Me", Moran has definitely raised the bar. I never wanted it to end, and while I knew in time Aidan's secrets would be revealed, I never foresaw the consequences to Uma.
Since I work part-time in a bookstore, I've had my eye on this book for awhile. After reading "The World I Made For Her" I was pretty sure I'd love it, but had no idea it would be so powerful.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By D. McDiffett on November 5, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Pity poor Una Moss. Gangly, unattractive (or so she believes), orphaned, she has only her women friends until handsome, mysterious Aidan Ferrel sweeps her off her feet. Unfortunately, Aidan hides a secret much worse than the inheritance Una keeps hidden from her friends. As her love for Aidan grows, you wonder if he is indeed returning the love in kind. By the end of this memorable, powerful novel, you'll know. Or will you? Some readers will undoubtedly be uncomfortable with the uncertainty remaining at the end of "Water, Carry Me," but others will thrive on discussing that very ambiguity. This is a powerful, memorable novel which reminds every reader of some of the deep-rooted causes of the "Troubles" which continue to plague Northern Ireland. A word of caution--a basic knowledge of that conflict will help you to understand much of the political discourse in this novel. Although it is subtitled "A Love Story," it is much more than that, if it is indeed a love story at all! Read it and judge for yourself.
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