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The Weight Of Water Paperback – 14 May 1998


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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Abacus; New Ed edition (14 May 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0349109117
  • ISBN-13: 978-0349109114
  • Product Dimensions: 12.5 x 1.7 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 194,767 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

Compelling and beautifully written . . . the strength of the book lies in the exquisite handling of the metaphor of the sea - constant but shifting, all surface but all depth: and in particular the dangerous emotional currents that in both stories collide forcibly to make disaster inevitable (Lynne Truss, THE TIMES)

Enthralling...an object lesson in how to unravel a complicated plot (Anita Brookner)

Rich, sensual prose...subtle and disturbing (Rosellen Brown)

Shortlisted for the Orange Prize, this is a beautifully crafted novel that explores the way in which we tell stories to try and relieve the weight of the past. (SUNDAY TIMES)

Book Description

A fascinating tale of obsessive love, hidden motivations and the endless resonance of guilt. Shortlisted for the Orange Prize in 1998.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 1 Jan. 1999
Format: Paperback
This is part of my working my way through the 1998 Orange Prize Shortlist. I have to say I liked this ones style over that of the winner (Larry's Party by Carol Shields).
There are two threads to the novel - the present day one centres on Jean , photographer with an obsession about a multiple murder of two Norwegian immigrant women on an island of the New Hampshire coast in the 1870s. She is there with alcoholic poet husband (Thomas )and daughter, on board brother in law's boat with him and girlfriend (Adaline) to take research photos of the island. She becomes more and more to believe that Adaline is having an affair with Thomas.
The other thread is that of the Norwegians. The great voice of the novel is from this thread. It is Maren, the surviving sister. Her account of her early life in Norway, how she came to America, the life there with her husband and later as they are joined by her sister, her brother and his wife is a brilliant portrayal of just how hard a life fishing communities had in those days, especially surviving the terrible cold of NH island winters, the claustrophobia of several people living in a small house, unable to venture forth at all during those winter months.
Chilling! I definitely recommend this thriller.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 12 Feb. 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the second book I have read by Shreve and I did enjoy it. I found the two stories were well and seamlessly interwoven and I was fascnitated with Maren's story. However I was disappointed in the contemporary characters, Jean, Thomas and family as I felt we did not get to know them well enough to entirely sympathise with their fates, which is a pity as it did spoil my enjoyment a little, still well worth reading though.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Lawyeraau HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on 9 Aug. 2003
Format: Audio Cassette
This is an exceptionally well-written tour de force about complex emotions. Written is clean, spare prose, it is two stories in one, each with its own voice, demanding to be heard. It is, without a doubt, a book to remember.
It tells the story of Jean, a news photographer who sets out on a sailboat to a remote island off the coast of New Hampshire, accompanied by her husband, Thomas, her five year old daughter, Billie, her brother-in-law, Rich, and his girl friend of several months, Adaline. The purpose of her visit is to photograph the scene of a nineteenth century double murder that saw two Norwegian, immigrant women hacked to death, which murders were much ballyhooed at the time as the crime of the century.
While there, she discovers an uncatalogued translation of the personal journal of the ostensible lone, female eyewitness, Maren Hontvedt, who seemed to have survived the carnage. Written in a somber and ruminative tone, the journal of Maren's life and of the events that led up to the carnage forms a core of the story. Maren's journal provides a framework for looking at the angst of Jean's present, which is haunted by passion, jealousy, and betrayal. It is through Maren's story that Jean herself comes to terms with her own personal tragedy.
Alternating between Jean's unraveling present and the secrets of the past, the book provides a compelling, absorbing and suspenseful narrative, keeping the reader in its thrall. The two juxtaposed dramas come together in a primal and tragic climax. Those who read this book will find themselves haunted by it.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Lawyeraau HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on 5 Nov. 2002
Format: Paperback
This is an exceptionally well written tour de force about complex emotions. Written is clean, spare prose, it is two stories in one, each with its own voice, demanding to be heard. It is, without a doubt, a book to remember.
It tells the story of Jean, a news photographer who sets out on a sailboat to a remote island off the coast of New Hampshire, accompanied by her husband, Thomas, their five year old daughter, Billie, her brother-in-law, Rich, and his girl friend of several months, Adaline. The purpose of her visit is to photograph the scene of a nineteenth century double murder that saw two Norwegian, immigrant women hacked to death, which murders were much ballyhooed at the time as the crime of the century.
While there, she discovers an uncatalogued translation of the personal journal of the ostensible lone, female eyewitness, Maren Hontvedt, who seemed to have survived the carnage. Written in a sombre and ruminative tone, the journal of Maren's life and of the events that led up to the carnage forms a core of the story. Maren's journal provides a framework for looking at the angst of Jean's present, which is haunted by passion, jealousy, and betrayal. It is through Maren's story that Jean herself comes to terms with her own personal tragedy.
Alternating between Jean's unravelling present and the secrets of the past, the book provides a compelling, absorbing and suspenseful narrative, keeping the reader in its thrall. The two juxtaposed dramas come together in a primal and tragic climax. Those who read this book will find themselves haunted by it.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 4 Nov. 2003
Format: Paperback
The way in which Anita Shreve has interwoven the present day happenings of Jean, her husband Thomas and their daughter Billie, with those of another century (concerning Maren Huntfedt, her husband John and their respective siblings) is absolutely superb. Despite this, however, I failed to become as involved with the characters as in the author's other books. I was a little more interested in Thomas, having read of him before in another of Anita Shreve's novels, 'The Last Time They Met', which took place after events in 'The Weight of Water'. As always, however, this book was very beautifully and poignantly written, with the tiniest human observations called to mind, making me (whether I liked it or not) acknowledge feeling or thinking those things at least once in my life. This is what makes 'The Weight of Water' worth reading.
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