BOOK REVIEW: SOPHIE MACKINTOSH – THE WATER CURE

*Just a gentle note, this review may contain small spoilers*

I’ve seen this book everywhere. The intriguing title, the gorgeous yet ambiguous cover, the strange yet interesting blurb, the praise on social media, and of course, recently long listed for the Man Booker Prize. I loved and devoured this book and I’m still thinking about it. So, what is it actually about? Here’s the blurb:

Imagine a world very close to our own: where women are not safe in their bodies, where desperate measures are required to raise a daughter. This is the story of Grace, Lia and Sky, kept apart from the world of their own good and taught the terrible things that every woman must learn about love. And it is the story of the men who come to find them – three strangers washed up by the sea, their gazes hungry and insistent, trailing desire and destruction in their wake.

Hypnotic and compulsive, The Water Cure is a fever dream, a blazing vision of suffering, sisterhood and transformation. Sophie Mackintosh brings us face to face with the brutality of love, demanding to know the price of survival in a hostile world.

Sounds good, right? I think this is an interesting book. While there is a huge amount of praise and adoration for this book, there are some people who just didn’t like it. I think it can fall into the category of a ‘marmite’ book – people will either love it or hate it. But for me, this was just a brilliant and compelling read from the start. There is an eeriness hanging over the book, a sense of ambiguity and a sense of nervousness. It’s a book that will capture your imagination with Mackintosh’s beautiful and dreamy writing.

Sophie Mackintosh is a beautiful writer who manages every single word with such poise and brilliance. This is literally a fever dream. The writing is lyrical, dream-like, enchanting. This book is disturbing, unsettling and haunting, especially with the actions of the mother and father that’s acted upon the three sisters and other women. It’s chilling, sends a shiver down your spine. But in the midst of all that, there’s beautiful touches of humour. For example, one of my favourite passages in the book:

Mother shrugs. ‘The storm is over.’
‘Could we please have some water?’ asks the older man.
Mother gestures at the sea. ‘Knock yourself out.’

This is a book that examines the nature of relationships and what it means to love, and to be loved, too. I loved the relationship between the three sisters – Grace, Lia and Sky. The book is told either by Lia and Grace’s own point of view, or the three sisters collectively which made an interesting read and something that I haven’t read before. The three sisters are not only tested when their father, King, has gone, but also when their mother disappears. They are left to their own devices, to take charge and control. They are presented with something they haven’t dealt with before: how do you live, how do you love when all you’ve ever known has gone?

While reading the book, in my head, I just saw the book as a BBC One mini TV series. You know, the one’s at Christmas. I think it would be perfect and the beautiful setting too. It’s the sort of book that would easily translate to the screen.

Let’s talk about the cover. For me, it’s a beautiful and haunting cover. It’s intriguing and I think it sums up the book very well, too. There’s something on the surface but underneath, there’s much more to discover. And that carries right through the book – that uncertainty and mystery. Something the reader will have to think about when reading.

New loves, new protections, new forms of life-guarding. I don’t know what this love is capable of, but as I study his face – angles, the soft curl of his lips, his eyes closed now – I believe it could do anything.

There are lot’s of twists and turns in the tale that I didn’t see coming and was pleased with. It really is a fever dream, it’s a book that will take you under the water, under the surface, and examine what it means to live on the island, what it means to have to rebuild yourself, your lives, your relationships when the foundations of everything you’ve ever known has fallen. A beautiful, dream-like, eerie read that I think is a classic already. I really hope it does will with the Man Booker Prize.

I can’t wait to see what Sophie Mackintosh writes next. I’ll be waiting with a holding breath.

Have you read The Water Cure? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks,

Corey.

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