The Water Cure: A Novel (Hardcover)
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"A gripping, sinister fable!"--Margaret Atwood, via Twitter
LONGLISTED FOR THE 2018 MAN BOOKER PRIZE l The Handmaid's Tale meets The Virgin Suicides in this dystopic feminist revenge fantasy about three sisters on an isolated island, raised to fear men
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 two men and a boy 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.
About the Author
Sophie Mackintosh won the 2016 White Review Short Story Prize and the 2016 Virago/Stylist Short Story competition, and has been published in Granta magazine and Tank magazine, among others. The Water Cure is her first novel.
“Eerily beautiful, this strange, unsettling novel creeps up and grabs hold of you.”
—Paula Hawkins, New York Times bestselling author of Girl on the Train
"Chilling... unsettling... a story that feels both futuristic and like an eerily familiar fable."
—Alexandra Alter, New York Times
“An extraordinary otherworldly debut… [Mackintosh] is writing the way that Sofia Coppola would shoot the end of the world: Everything is luminous.”
“[A] chilling, beautifully written novel…the tautness and tension of the writing are staggering.”
—Judges Panel citation, the Man Booker Prize 2018
"Sophie Mackintosh casts an exquisite, irresistible spell in her thrilling debut. Ablaze with beauty, desire, and dread, The Water Cure is a shattering look at patriarchal control and how far three sisters will go to free themselves from it".
—Leni Zumas, author of Red Clocks
“At once dreamy and disturbing, The Water Cure is a gripping work, a dizzying labyrinth of conflicting realities.”
—Helen Phillips, author of The Beautiful Bureaucrat
"Creepy and sexy in equal measure, The Water Cure is a hypnotic portrait of three young women waking up to the world, desire, and the power of their bodies."
"Startling...Mackintosh is a wonderful stylist; the full scope of her imagination, as well as the cohesion of her vision, is evident on every page."
—The Irish Times
"I loved this book. It rushes you through to the end on a tide of tension and closely held panic. Eerie, beautiful, electric."
—Daisy Johnson, author of Everything Under and Fen