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I've always loved Wally Lamb. Ever since 'She's Come Undone' and the story of Delores and her struggle with her family and weight, and then the amazing store 'I Know This Much is True,' I've been hooked on his writing/story telling style. While I sort of thought 'The Hour I First Believed' was a little discombobulated, I pre-ordered 'We Are Water' and looked very much forward to the day of it's release. I listened to the novel, told by several points of view, in a day and a half. I couldn't wait to see what would happen next, and I absolutely loved it and especially loved the narration by Lamb himself.
Voraciously, I ate up 'We Are Water,' and now I am disappointed that it's over and I have to wait years for Lamb to write another book! The story tells the tale of the Oh family. Patriarch Orien Oh and his wife Anna have raised three children, a set of twins and a younger daughter. After over twenty-five years of marriage Anna decides to leave Orien and marry Viveca, her female lover, and very rich art dealer who has made Anna a success. The book centres around the reactions of the Oh family to Anna making such a shocking decision.
As with any family, there are a lot of 'Oh' skeletons in their closet. Orien's father really never had anything to do with him. The twins are in a state of constant disarray, one wanting to be artificially inseminated at a young age, and the other turning to God and Jesus to reinforce his feelings about his mother's sexuality. The youngest is struggling to become an actress and Anna herself has had a tortured past. Anna tells her deepest secrets to the listener, like we are her best friend. We are horrified, empathetic, disgusted and at some points, pleasantly entertained.
All of the characters are due to get together for Anna's wedding however, of course, things go far from the way they are planned. The novel is dramatic, suspenseful, at times laugh-out-loud funny, and it ties together like the perfect bow on a gift. A gift from Wally Lamb.
5 starts, loved every minute of it. Can't wait for his next book.
25 of 26 people found this review helpful
We Are Water is the story of family, marriage, parenting, love, homosexuality, suicide, death, murder, racism---overt and subtle, wealth and poverty, anger, violence, secrets, ghosts, atheists, religion, the power of prayer, classism, drowning in a flood, physical abuse, pedophilia, disabilities, theft, art, alcoholism, politics---liberal and conservative, trauma, and community.
Each character in this book has her or his own voice in this story. The voices are braided together making this important novel unique and so special. The author narrates the voice of Orion Oh the patriarch in the book. Unlike some other authors, Mr. Lambs contribution to the narration is perfection.
Annie and Orion Oh are married and they have three children Ariane, Andrew, and Marissa. Annie is first struggling, then becomes a successful artist. Orion is a psychologist who cannot heal his own family. Annie's traumatic childhood and time in foster care and Orion never knowing his father impacts both parents and their children in profound ways. After over 20 years of marriage they divorce; Annie leaves Orion for a woman.
The backdrop of this story is the narrative of the short life of Josephus Jones and his brother. These black men are ostracized from and suffer abuse from their Connecticut community. Josephus's brother lives with a Dutch white woman. Josephus is a painter of "outsider art" never receiving recognition for his art until after his violent death. The story of the artist, his death and his art are woven throughout the book.
Another voice in this book is Kent, Annie's cousin who is a pedophile. This part, hearing Kent's voice and of Annie's abuse is very difficult but is an integral part of this book. I think it very brave of this author to include this peek into the persona and psyche of this man. Fortunately in the afterword the author explains his reasons for including Kent's voice.
This book touched me in a way few books do. I loved everything about this book; thank you Wally Lamb.
43 of 46 people found this review helpful
I really enjoyed this book ... Love Wally Lambs books , and this kept me company on some long car journeys !
Brilliantly written and well read .. Good to have the different voices for various characters .. Would highly recommend this book
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
4 stars for performance due to the pronunciation of certain words / names.
Great book, my second Wally Lamb.