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Underwater [Hardcover]

Elizabeth Diamond
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
RRP: 12.99
Price: 11.16 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

1 May 2009

What do you remember, Jane? How much do you remember?

Jane is living a solitary life, estranged from her husband and son after her family is marked by a tragedy she cannot face. As she recovers from a debilitating bout of treatment for a serious illness, Jane is plagued by childhood memories and strange, underwater dreams of her beloved brother, Paul, who went missing as a teenager. Now he seems to be urging her to remember her long-buried past.

Her mind desperately seeking connections, Jane begins searching for Paul. But as she digs further into her brother’s disappearance, she realizes she must untangle the web of lies from which she has woven her life and confront the devastating truth about her family. For only then can she begin to face up to her own part in its destruction . . .

Product details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Picador (1 May 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330453696
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330453691
  • Product Dimensions: 20.4 x 14.6 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,306,359 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Having always wanted to be a writer, it wasn't until I was in my early fifties when my first novel, An Accidental Light, was published. This was the very first full-length novel I'd ever tried to write - before that I'd concentrated mainly on writing poetry. I had carried the opening scene around in my head for years, and told myself that if I ever wrote a novel it would begin in that way - and yet it wasn't until after the novel was accepted for publication that the reason dawned on me as to why that opening scene had been so compelling. When I was thirteen years old one of my best friends at school had died in the very same way - by running out from the back of a bus into the path of an oncoming car. I literally had never made the connection before!

Product Description

About the Author

Elizabeth Diamond lives in Devon, England. She has found her literary voice in mid-life, and received a British Arts Council grant to work on her debut novel, An Accidental Light. This is her second novel.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Traumatic 17 Jan 2010
By SusieH

One trauma after another has left Jane very fragile. When she then is diagnosed with cancer and is going through the necessary harsh treatments, she starts to relive some of the past traumas. Many of these traumas she has covered up, both in her portrayal of herself to others, and to varying degrees has also blotted out even to herself.

There are some interesting characters in Jane's life, almost of all of whom she has lied to, and it is shocking for them when Jane is at last truthful.

An excellent read, a book I was unable to put down.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Guilt, lies and secrets 29 Jun 2009
By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The blurb on this book describes it as `women's fiction' and perfect for reading groups, so I really wasn't sure if it was my sort of thing. Set in a very home counties (in mind-set, at least, if not always geographically), middle-class world, it tells the story of Jane, an ex-art teacher, and her journey to face up to the guilty secrets that have haunted her life since childhood.

This isn't in any sense a bad book, but I did find myself resisting it (unintentionally) all the way through. Maybe because I found Jane such an unpleasant person? Maybe because I felt the misery had just been piled on too much (broken marriage, family tragedy, loss of her brother, death of her father, illness...)? Maybe because the writing was so pedestrian (not bad, just bland)? I'm not sure.

Having said that I thought the sub-story of Jane's ex-husband and his relationship with his son was done excellently; and Diamond's depiction of Jane's own relationship with Dominic was brave.

So ultimately this wasn't my type of book and I suspect my mum will enjoy it far more than I did.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too much for one book 24 Feb 2011
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This book has sat on my shelf for a long time and has been picked up and put back on several occasions. I wanted to be rewarded for finally making the decision to go for it , but alas I wasn't.

I'm not saying it was a bad book, just an OK book (for me). While it was well written and the overwhelming sense of loneliness was portrayed very well, I found that it was all too much. Jane is battling with dreams of a difficult childhood, a missing brother, an illness, a divorce and a disabled son. There was no light and shade in this book, no respite from the tragedy, and I found it a chore in the end. There was no forward momentum and no looking forward to picking it up.

To summarise, not a bad book but too slow-going and fraught with tragedy for me.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not for me. 3 Feb 2010
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I found this novel both depressing and hard going but ploughed on gamely right to the end.

Basically, it is a book of 'secrets', those of Jane, the main character and a whole host of other skeletons rattling around in her cupboards. Cancer, divorce, missing (presumed dead brother).

It just didn't strike a note with me on any level whatsoever and for this reason alone, I could only give it 2 stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well-written but somewhat over-done 7 Jan 2010
By Sally Zigmond VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Jane finds herself having recurring dreams about her brother who walked out one day when they were both teenagers and whom she has never seen since. This prompts her to search for him. But first she needs to remember forgotten details.

And as Jane delves into the past, the author cleverly peels away the layers of time and memory, slowly revealing, not just Jane's childhood, but her 'failed' marriage, a tragic accident, the nature of her job and the places that are important to her. Through this, we also begin to build up a picture of Jane herself. Her brother is not the only one who runs away. Jane does it often, when she faces a crisis in her life, often ending up in the Norfolk coast where she spent her childhood holidays. But she always returns.

All her memories are tied up with water and drowning. This recurring theme also shapes the novel in that the process of re-awakening memory, painful and traumatic, forms the shape of a wave--as well as the act of plunging into deep water and then resurfacing, clean and new. In fact, the imagery of water pervades the pages.

Even though I guessed some of the unrevealed truth, it didn't quite happen as I had thought. The author, even whilst going over the same ground again and again--as one does when trying to remember the past--is never boring because each time something new is added, a small shock, another layer of meaning. I began by disliking Jane as a person but after a while I almost liked her--although I can't say I ever found her a truly empathetic character.

I would have given this novel five stars for the writing which was clean and fresh and for the story and the way the author controls it so well.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A psychological journey 22 Dec 2009
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This was a most enjoyable read, though it benefits from being read in one go - not picked up and put down, as I did, which was a bit confusing. It's an interesting view on the psychological effects of trauma and the suppression of events that can't be faced.

After a bout of treatment for cancer, Jane starts to find her mind triggered by thoughts from the past, a past she has suppressed for many years by lies and evasion, not only to those who are close to her, but also to herself. As the memories start to tumble into her conciousness she also has to deal with problems in the present time. People around her help and hinder this process to varying degrees so that the whole unravelling becomes a fascinating journey of discovery.

My version was a proof copy so I hope the many typos will have been corrected by the time it becomes commercially available. I was more worried about the need for editing - new paragraphs where thought processes change, more clarity in the time line, things like that. It is for that reason that I only gave the book 4* as it didn't really flow. If these problems are corrected then this is definitely a 5* Read.

I have An Accidental Light on my shelves and if it's even better than Underwater, as one reviewer said, then I can't wait to read it!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderfully written
This book tells the story of Jane who is growing up with her cold mother,strict father and her beloved brother- Paul. Read more
Published on 31 July 2012 by s
3.0 out of 5 stars Reasonably entertaining
An entertaining but slow moving story, which means the book is easily put down and picked up again.

Jane is the focus of the plot, a moving early childhood life is... Read more
Published on 19 Aug 2010 by Mart
4.0 out of 5 stars Issues of grief and loss
Having provided psychotherapy over some years, I was very interested in the interweaving around issues of loss contained within the novel, particularly with the emotional state of... Read more
Published on 24 Mar 2010 by Sandford
3.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing but ultimately disappointing book
An intriguing novel which slowly and systematically uncovers the main character Jane's past. It was a bit of a chore but I wanted to keep going to the end to see the book climax in... Read more
Published on 22 Mar 2010 by Mr. M. A. Quinn
3.0 out of 5 stars I was absorbed sufficiently to stay to the end, but . . .
Underwater started off as a fascinating look at the problems resulting from suffering a loss without having 'closure'. Read more
Published on 27 Feb 2010 by Mr. D. J. Carr
3.0 out of 5 stars Leisurely read, but worth it in the end.
Elizabeth Diamond is a new author to me, and one I enjoyed. I did feel as if I'd read this type of story many times before, but it was still an interesting read. Read more
Published on 19 Feb 2010 by Michelle Moore
2.0 out of 5 stars Too much tragedy
As she recovers from cancer, Jane begins to dream of her older brother Paul who disappeared when she was thirteen. Read more
Published on 23 Jan 2010 by AR
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful writing, sensitive and inspiring
I thoroughly enjoyed this new writer's second novel. Very 'real life' and yet quite unlike any book I had read before. Beautifully, poetically written, but never arduous. Read more
Published on 17 Nov 2009 by Mr. T. C. Faux
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