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We Are Water: A Novel (P.S.) Paperback – August 12, 2014
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“It’s a sign of a good novel when the reader slowly savors the final chapters, both eager to discover the ending and dreading saying goodbye to the characters. We Are Water is a book worth diving into.” (USA Today, 4-star review)
“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 Reviews)
“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)
From the Back Cover
With humor and compassion, New York Times bestselling author Wally Lamb brilliantly captures human experience through vivid and unforgettable characters struggling to find hope and redemption in the aftermath of trauma and loss.
Annie Oh—wife, mother, and artist—has shaken her family to its core. After twenty-seven years of marriage and three children, Annie has fallen in love with Viveca, the wealthy, cultured, confident Manhattan art dealer who orchestrated her professional success. The two plan to wed in the Oh family's hometown of Three Rivers, Connecticut, where gay marriage has recently been legalized. But this provokes mixed reactions and opens a Pandora's box of toxic secrets—dark and painful truths that have festered below the surface of the Ohs' lives.
Told in the alternating voices of the Ohs—nonconformist Annie; her psychologist ex-husband, Orion; their do-gooder daughter, Ariane, and her rebellious twin, Andrew; and the free-spirited youngest, Marissa—We Are Water is vintage Wally Lamb: a compulsively readable and uplifting masterpiece that digs deep into the complexities of the human heart to explore the ways we search for love and meaning in our lives.
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We Are Water is grand in scope. Lamb tells the story of the Oh family the only way you can: through history. The story alternates narrators, giving the reader a broader perspective. The characters tell us about their childhoods -- the Japanese immigrant grandfather, the mother who died in a flood in 1963, the unknown man whose art inspires in the present -- all of this gives context. The stories intertwine in surprising ways.
There are some things to criticize here. Sometimes Lamb gets overly detailed and repetitive; this novel was over six hundred pages and could have withstood a few killed darlings. Also, I would have preferred fewer graphic descriptions from the pedophile and a less over-the-top dramatic climax.
For me, the joy of fiction is always the characters and Lamb is an expert at creating full and complicated characters you fall in love with. I recommend this book.
-Katie O'Rourke, author of Finding Charlie