Wednesday, February 19, 2014

We Are Water

I am a big fan of Wally Lamb's first two novels (She's Come Undone and I Know This Much Is True)  and I wanted to like this book.  We Are Water is a very complex and multi-layered story about the break-up of a family. After moving to New York City to pursue her disturbing yet successful and very lucrative art work,  Annie Oh divorces her husband of 27 years and intends to marry her wealthy Manhattan art dealer (a woman).  The book takes place in the months before their upcoming marriage, and  explores the reactions of her ex- husband Orion and their three adult children. There are lots of back stories, of course, lots of secrets,  reasons why she married, why she falls in love with a woman. There is almost too much going on in the story. And I didn't feel the same connection with the characters that I did in his earlier books, they didn't seem as well developed or likable.  The ex-husband is a university psychologist, yet he misses all the signs of problems and dysfunction in his own family.  There are some disturbing scenes, too, that I thought were over the top. Over drama.  Each chapter is told from a different character's perspective, and the story goes back and forth from the past to the present.  It's a long book, a lot to take in. It's readable, but not in the same league as his earlier novels.

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