Monday, October 21, 2013

We Are Water: A Novel by Wally Lamb

(Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

In middle age, Anna Oh—wife, mother, outsider artist—has shaken her family to its core. After twenty-seven years of marriage and three children, Anna has fallen in love with Vivica, the wealthy, cultured, confident Manhattan art dealer who orchestrated her professional success.

Anna and Viveca plan to wed in the Oh family’s hometown of Three Rivers in Connecticut, where gay marriage has recently been legalized. But the impending wedding provokes some very 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.

We Are Water is an intricate and layered portrait of marriage, family, and the inexorable need for understanding and connection, told in the alternating voices of the Ohs—nonconformist Annie; her ex-husband, Orion, a psychologist; Ariane, the do-gooder daughter, and her twin, Andrew, the rebellious only son; and free-spirited Marissa, the youngest Oh. Set in New England and New York during the first years of the Obama presidency, it is also a portrait of modern America, exploring issues of class, changing social mores, the legacy of racial violence, and the nature of creativity and art.

With humor and breathtaking compassion, Wally Lamb brilliantly captures the essence of human experience in vivid and unforgettable characters struggling to find hope and redemption in the aftermath of trauma and loss. We Are Water is vintage Wally Lamb—a compulsively readable, generous, and uplifting masterpiece that digs deep into the complexities of the human heart to explore the ways in which we search for love and meaning in our lives.

my thoughts:

Wally Lamb's latest opus is an excellent read.  It is an emotional, gripping story about a dysfunctional family and all of their dark, deep secrets. 

We Are Water focuses on the Oh family and the impending nuptials of matriarch Annie.  Married for over twenty years to Orion, this upcoming wedding is something of a shock to everyone.  You see, Orion thought that his marriage was rock solid - after all he was supporting his wife's artistic endeavors by agreeing to live apart for one whole year (eventually that year was extended).  He didn't understand her artwork, but he accepted that she needed to do this.  What Orion didn't expect was for Annie to tell him that she had fallen in love with Vivica - the woman who showcased her artwork and had given Annie a place to stay.  Talk about not being on the same page - at all!

Told via alternating narrators, we slowly become privy to the Oh family's differing opinions and perspectives on Annie's upcoming wedding.  We also find out a number of hidden secrets that the family have been kept buried for far too long.  Secrets that have caused friction and fractures within and outside of the Oh family.  Through these secrets, Lamb is able to explore a variety of themes, such as: love, family, sexuality, art, secrecy, and trust.   And, he is able to bridge the past and present so seamlessly, as well.  Of course, I do believe that a huge part of what makes this book so engaging is the use of stream of consciousness - I found it to be a perfect fit with these unlikeable, flawed characters.  Not only do we get to feel the familiarity that comes with being a member of the Oh family, but we also get to experience the discomfort and awkwardness that comes with the dissolution of a family. 

We Are Water is an amazing, unputdownable read - check it out!

Here's a link to the TLC Book Tour schedule for: We Are Water
Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!


Ti said...

I skimmed a little because I haven't started it yet, but I see that you liked it. You know me and flawed characters. Love at first sight. I should like this one.

Nadia said...

Ti, you will LOVE this book :) Enjoy!

The Relentless Reader said...

I just won a copy of this and I am CRAZY excited to read it :D I adore Lamb.

Nadia said...

Jennifer, you are going to love this book! Lamb's books never disappoint :)

Bellezza said...

I'm reading this right now, only in the first fifty pages or so, but I'm loving it, too!

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

I have to admit that I have not yet read anything by this author.... Sounds like I'm really missing out on great books!

Thanks for being on the tour. I'm featuring your review on TLC's Facebook page today.

Lisa said...

And uncomfortable and unexpected in the very best ways!