Summerwater by Sarah Moss
Published by: Pan Macmillan
Rating: 4/5 stars
On the longest day of the summer, twelve people sit cooped up with their families in a faded Scottish cabin park. The endless rain leaves them with little to do but watch the other residents.
A woman goes running up the Ben as if fleeing; a retired couple reminisce about neighbours long since moved on; a teenage boy braves the dark waters of the loch in his red kayak. Each person is wrapped in their own cares but increasingly alert to the makeshift community around them. One particular family, a mother and daughter without the right clothes or the right manners, starts to draw the attention of the others. Tensions rise and all watch on, unaware of the tragedy that lies ahead as night finally falls.
About the author:
Sarah Moss is a writer and academic. She has published six novels as well as a number of non-fiction works and academic texts. Her work has been nominated three times for the Wellcome Book Prize.
In ‘Summerwater’ Sarah Moss takes readers to an idyllic Scottish holiday cabin park near a lake for a part of a day. There are 12 people in different cabins who are all reconciled but differently, to the fact that the constant rain is playing spoilsport to their holiday. Cooped inside the cabins, the scenes play out mostly in the mind of the characters we read about giving us everyday like scenes that happens to people: one half of an engaged couple looking at domesticity, sexual fantasies and notions of being truthful; an older couple mulling over earlier memories and the changes that life is bringing to them; a mother worn out from housework motherhood; a parent – teen age angst play out and so on. The enforced quietness is disturbed by the music and noise that comes from a cabin, the sight of the dresses and appearance of the people within making them the ‘others’.
The lack of a conventional plot, the way the author takes readers into the thoughts of a few selected characters make you feel like you are missing out on the larger picture but in reality, the device works so well for one sees the way each character’s thoughts are almost meditative, some cruel, some alarming. It is not so much a story or plot as it is about isolated lives living in a common situation, how they are disconnected and yet connected by the same and different things. The everyday thoughts, the bits and pieces that you get of the characters make you feel a sense of ease and disquiet.
Summerwater is nothing like I have read! A rather short book, the word flow is like rain drop: a constant pitter-patter that keeps on assailing your senses – in the wetness, the sound, making you wonder when it would stop. The writing is solid and yet fluid: it immerses you till you wonder whether you are there at the cabin becoming one with the character and the mood they are in.
Thank you #Netgalley and #PanMacmillan for the egalley