The Water Cure – Sophie Mackintosh
Publisher: Doubleday Books
Release Date: January 2019 (US)
Synopsis: King has tenderly staked out a territory for his wife and three daughters, Grace, Lia, and Sky. He has lain the barbed wire; he has anchored the buoys in the water; he has marked out a clear message: Do not enter. Or viewed from another angle: Not safe to leave. Here women are protected from the chaos and violence of men on the mainland. The cult-like rituals and therapies they endure fortify them from the spreading toxicity of a degrading world.
But when their father, the only man they’ve ever seen, disappears, they retreat further inward until the day three strange men wash ashore. Over the span of one blistering hot week, a psychological cat-and-mouse game plays out. Sexual tensions and sibling rivalries flare as the sisters confront the amorphous threat the strangers represent. Can they survive the men?
A haunting, riveting debut about the capacity for violence and the potency of female desire, The Water Cure both devastates and astonishes as it reflects our own world back at us.
Review: I finished Sophie Mackintosh’s The Water Cure a few days ago and instead of reviewing it straight away I had to let it sit for a bit. I still don’t fully know what to think or feel about it, so I’m going to try and muddle through my mixed feelings here to do some sort of a review.
Mackintosh’s writing is to be envied. It’s lyrical and lush without being verbose. As a matter of fact, it’s somehow stark. The whole novel reads like a fever dream, with bizarre rituals and “exercises” that made my stomach turn at the level of abuse they meted out. Behind that horror, there’s the feeling on Lia’s constant, claustrophobic need for love and affection–and rightfully so. That’s all a hard balance to achieve, and I can totally see why it’s on the Man Booker Longlist for 2018 even ahead of its US publication date.
Ultimately, The Water Cure is a beautifully written book with terrifying subject matter, though it does leave the reader with more questions than answers. I highly recommend–even though I still don’t know how I feel about it.
Thank you to the publishers and NetGalley for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.