Wednesday, January 1, 2014

We are Water

by Wally Lamb
Nov 19-Dec 22, 2013

"A life I didn't choose chose me."

It wasn't until the last few pages that the theme of Wally Lamb's latest novel was actually spelled out. But it was nice to see it in writing. A lightbulb moment for sure.

It's no secret my love of every word Lamb writes, and it's always an exciting day when he releases a new book. Unlike many authors, Lamb keeps us anxiously waiting years for his next masterpiece. Luckily it's only been five years since The Hour I First Believed. I was beyond excited to dive in to all 576 pages of delicious storytelling.

Annie Oh is an artist who decides to end her 27-year marriage to Orion for her art dealer-turned-fiancée, Viveca. Viveca is rich, and it's difficult for Annie to adjust to the good fortune. Coming from modest beginnings, losing her mother and growing up in foster care, Annie struggles with her completely changed lifestyle. Her three children vary in their acceptance of Viveca, while her ex-husband, Orion, has struggles of his own. With chapters that weave between each member of the Oh family, and stories from past to present, it was so easy to be engrossed from beginning to end. Some subject matter was rather difficult to read (child molestation in particular), but very necessary in the plot development. Overall, We Are Water is a complex, layered story about a flood, family dynamics, difficult decisions and deep secrets with multiple, unimaginable sexual encounters. And I loved every minute of it.

You know how the last few chapters of most books have evident tonal changes that give the signal that the end is near? This one definitely doesn't do that. It was so great to keep reading as though there would be no end. Struggles were still unresolved, decisions were still not made, but I couldn't have been more satisfied.

"We are like water, aren't we? We can be fluid, flexible when we have to be. But strong and destructive, too....Like water we follow the path of least resistance."

Ultimately, Wally Lamb is a master storyteller and We Are Water is no exception. It really made me think about relationships and our ability to handle whatever life has to offer.

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