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Sweetwater: A Novel Hardcover – May 13, 2003
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Critically acclaimed but not well known, Robinson will reach a broader audience with this hold-your-breath novel of loss and love. Devoted to her work for Environmental Protection Resources, Isabel is trying hard to recover from the shock of her first husband's death. She likes Paul's thoughtfulness and convinces herself that a peaceful rather than passionate second marriage is appropriate. Loving wilderness, she embarks optimistically on a vacation in the Adirondacks with Paul's parents and brother, Whitney. But rather than contentedly contemplating nature, Isabel finds herself embroiled in tricky family conflicts. Alarmed by Paul's simmering fury and dangerously attracted to Whitney, she is assailed by painful memories of her harrowing first marriage, which Robinson skillfully sets in chilling counterpoint to the increasingly heated dynamics of Isabel's present predicament. As family strife turns incendiary, forest fires erupt on the drought-afflicted landscape, and Isabel fights for her life in an emotional and literal inferno. Writing with rapturous intensity of nature both wild and human, Robinson forges a love story of unusual complexity and satisfaction. Donna Seaman
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“Sweetwater is a repository for all of Roxana Robinson’s writerly gifts, most notably her keen eye for the details that make up the veneer of social and familial life and her awareness of the darker psychic rivers that run below that surface. She is a master at moving from the art of description to the work of excavating the truths about ourselves.” —Billy Collins
“There is such quiet power in this fateful novel, present from the start and gathering to its culmination: a story of loss and remarriage, and of the harm done to, and by, vulnerable men and women. This is cool, intrepid writing, not a word wasted, creating a human tension that reflects our endangered world.” —Shirley Hazzard
“In four previous works of fiction, Robinson established herself as an astute and sensitive chronicler of domestic tensions, particularly among affluent families in wealthy enclaves of Manhattan and exclusive summer abodes. Here she broadens her canvas to introduce larger social issues....Sweetwater succeeds as a moving study of a woman’s emergence from a suffocating life.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)