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We Are Water: A Novel (P.S.) Paperback – August 12, 2014
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“Wally Lamb’s fifth work of fiction…is a mesmerizing novel about a family in crisis that pulls together many characters and diverse themes and sets the bulk of its action against our collective modern angst and ambivalence.” (Miami Herald)
“We are water: ‘fluid, flexible when we have to be. But strong and destructive, too.’ That’s evident in this emotionally involving new novel from the author of She’s Come Undone….Clear and sweetly flowing; highly recommended.” (Library Journal, starred review)
“In his singularly perceptive voice, Lamb immerses his characters and the novel’s readers in powerful moments of hope and redemption and shocking descriptions of violence and abuse… fascinating.” (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
“Wally Lamb’s latest, WE ARE WATER, works the same magic as his 1992 Oprah-anointed breakthrough, She’s Come Undone, capturing a snapshot of modern life (class struggle, racial violence) through the lens of a family faced with jarring news from its matriarchal figure.” (Out.com)
“Through alternating perspectives this addicting novel reveals how secrets can define a person and wreak havoc on her loved ones.” (Real Simple)
“Alternating voices of the wife, husband and their three children pain a vivid portrait of a marriage and reveal the shifting meaning of family.” (Ms. Magazine)
“Lamb excels at delivering unexpected blows to his characters, ratcheting up the suspense to the final page.” (Publishers Weekly)
“We all know that life is tangled and messy. Still, in reminding readers of this fact, Lamb turns in a satisfyingly grown-up story, elegantly written.” (Kirkus)
“So far my favorite scene involves the throwing of multiple glasses of Bordeaux at three Vera Wang wedding dresses. At least you know you won’t be bored (People.com)
“Wally Lamb delivers a powerful and engaging novel filled with complexities and intricacies of human nature and family dysfunction. . . this is a book not to be missed.” (The Advocate)
“…this family saga is hard to put down.” (Entertainment Weekly)
Top Customer Reviews
"We Are Water" reminds of "I Know This Much is True" in that it explores a family's secrets and sucks the reader in to the point where it's exquisitely uncomfortable to process what you're reading. The subject matter is not lightweight in either book, but still comes across as completely believable. The racism, child molestation, homophobia, etc. are difficult issues to read about from the different characters' point of view, but well worth it to bring you to the book's fabulous conclusion.
Some find his books verbose. I do not. There is no author on the planet, female or male, that can write female characters better than Wally Lamb. His character development, overall, is second to none. (Orion, Annie Oh's husband, is a particularly unforgettable character in this book.)
The Wally Lamb books I've read will never leave me.
Annie Oh, first a daughter, then an orphan, then a wife and mother, then an artist, and finally a lesbian lover, has lived a life so full it seems like she has lived more than one lifetime. Through it all, the secrets she keeps from her early childhood affect herself and everyone around her. In the end, she can't continue to hide her past and finally has to confront it.
It's not a terribly complicated story, but the way Wally Lamb tells it is perfect. Details emerge from different points of view until everything is revealed. He focuses on the inner dialogs of the people involved, and in the process we get to know all the characters very well. It's an ambitious way to tell a story, and I don't think very many writers could pull it off as well as he does it. He seems to have a special insight.
In the end, it's not just a book about tragedy and secrets. It's also about forgiveness, redemption, and enduring love. These are not perfect people, but they are very good people. I was glad I got to know them.
I admire the craft behind We Are Water. Wally Lamb has long been a favorite writer of mine and he remains the most astute writer of people and character that I have ever read. In this book he slips effortlessly under the skin of Annie, the lesbian art dealer who is both abused and abuser; her husband Orion, the psychologist who is both professionally astute and personally blind; her older daughter Ariane, the perfectionist with the low self-esteem; her younger daughter Marissa, aspiring actress and practicing alcoholic; and Andrew, my personal most interesting character, the rebellious child turned Army nurse turned born-again fundamentalist. Plus a few other characters with unique relationships to the Ohs, who I won't reveal here, to preserve the surprise. Mr. Lamb practices fictional psychology like a surgeon, with a knife calibrated to the slightest edge; he is precise and brilliant and gets right to the heart of the matter. Also, he has an incredible ability to take on "unsympathetic" characters - molesters and child abusers - and make you glide from understanding them to being horrified by them, all in one smooth narrative flow.Read more ›
I loved Mr. Lamb's previous books but found this one to be poorly written, with lazy, repetitive word choices. For example, over and over characters use the word "that" when describing something (e.g. "that" Chinese restaurant)--to imply that the character to whom they're speaking (and I guess the reader) is familiar with it so no description is necessary. But all those "thats" started really bugging me. Lazy writing--the opposite of being specific.
The lead character, a female artist, makes "angry" artwork that sounds like total garbage and is abusive to her children; her husband/ex-husband is an incompetent shrink; their children unsuccessful; her new partner, an art dealer, seems shallow (I say "seems" because she is barely described even though she's a major part of the plot).
All of the characters seem like bloodless cardboard cutouts and the plot just meanders; more like reading a case file than literature.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I love every one of Wally Lambs novels. This one left me particularly uneasy, but that is attributed to his ability to articulate the very essence of some really disturbing... Read morePublished 1 day ago by L. Donnelly
Wally Lamb's characters are so real, you can hear them breathing and feel their hearts beating. One of his best!Published 4 days ago by MaryLou
Another fantastic Wally Lamb book - with unique characters and interwoven plot. Love it!Published 10 days ago by Cbeee
Well written, Wally Lamb put out another great novel as expected. I would have appreciated a bit more insight into "the time between". I don't want to spoil anything.Published 10 days ago by rcreader
Wally Lamb tells a story like few others. He introduces you to characters, a family, and they become part of you. I dream about these people at night when I read one of his novels. Read morePublished 20 days ago by K. Byrnes
Wally Lamb is so inside the head of his characters to the point of making your own skin crawl as if he's inside yours too. Read morePublished 24 days ago by Teresa Barber
The narrative held my interest and was generally satisfying. The characters are mostly believable (more on this in a minute) and their stories compelling (except the pedophile,... Read morePublished 24 days ago by Liesl Forbes
I've really enjoyed Lamb's other books. We are Water left me disappointed. It wasn't bad, but nothing to be excited over.Published 24 days ago by DoubleSMom