Cover image for We are water : a novel
Title:
We are water : a novel
Author:
Lamb, Wally, author.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York, NY : Harper, c2013
Physical Description:
564 pages ; 24 cm
Summary:
Anna Oh, a middle-age wife, mother and artist, divorces her husband after 27 years of marriage to marry Vivica, the Manhattan art dealer who orchestrated her professional success.
Language:
English
Geographic Term:
ISBN:
9780061941023

9780061941030
Format :
Book

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On Order

Summary

Summary

In middle age, Annie Oh--wife, mother, and outsider artist--has shaken her family to its core. After twenty-seven years of marriage and three children, Annie has fallen in love with Viveca, the wealthy, cultured, confident Manhattan art dealer who orchestrated her professional success.

Annie and Viveca plan to wed in the Oh family's hometown of Three Rivers, Connecticut, where gay marriage has recently been legalized. But the impending wedding provokes some very mixed reactions and opens a Pandora's box of toxic secrets--dark and painful truths that have festered below the surface of the Ohs' lives.

We Are Water is an intricate and layered portrait of marriage, family, and the inexorable need for understanding and connection, told in the alternating voices of the Ohs--nonconformist Annie; her ex-husband, Orion, a psychologist; Ariane, the do-gooder daughter, and her twin, Andrew, the rebellious only son; and free-spirited Marissa, the youngest Oh. Set in New England and New York during the first years of the Obama presidency, it is also a portrait of modern America, exploring issues of class, changing social mores, the legacy of racial violence, and the nature of creativity and art.

With humor and breathtaking compassion, Wally Lamb brilliantly captures the essence of human experience in vivid and unforgettable characters struggling to find hope and redemption in the aftermath of trauma and loss. We Are Water is vintage Wally Lamb--a compulsively readable, generous, and uplifting masterpiece that digs deep into the complexities of the human heart to explore the ways in which we search for love and meaning in our lives.


Author Notes

Walter (Wally) Lamb was born in Norwich, Connecticut on October 17, 1950. He attended the University of Connecticut, receiving a B.A. in 1972 and an M.A. in 1977; he also earned an M.F.A. from Vermont College in 1984.

Lamb has written numerous short stories, most notably "Astronauts", which received both the Pushcart Prize and the University of Missouri's William Peden Prize in 1990. He is also the author of the bestselling novels She's Come Undone, I Know This Much Is True, The Hour I First Believed and We Are Water.

Lamb writes stories, he says, because he sometimes hears another voice in his head and feels the need to tell that character's story. He made The New York Times Best Seller List with his title We are Water. However, he feels an equally strong calling to teach, and has no plans to become a fulltime writer. He has taught English at the Norwich Free Academy since 1972, and for many years directed the Academy's writing center, which he also played a major role in creating. The idea for it developed as he became more involved in fiction writing himself and realized that the common methods of teaching composition, which involved grading a paper and commenting on it after the student was finished, were not particularly helpful. He set up a program that allowed students to get feedback from both teachers and peers early in the writing process, so that they could incorporate the suggestions into their final work. He currently teaches creative writing at the University of Connecticut. He is also the volunteer facilitator of a writing workshop at the York Correctional Institution.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Lamb's much-anticipated new novel explores the secrets of a Connecticut family on the occasion of mother Annie's remarriage to another woman. An artist who has found great success recycling junk into angry visual art, Annie is ambivalent about marrying Viveca, the art dealer responsible for her success. Meanwhile, Annie's ex-husband, Orion, struggles to accept Annie's remarriage and remake himself after messing up his career as a psychologist. And their kids are not exactly all right either. But, in classic Lamb fashion, this is less a story about the drama of the present or any of the various hot-button issues Lamb invokes (gay marriage, Christian Fundamentalism, Obama's presidency) than it is a lesson about how the traumas of the past play themselves out in the present, and how moral courage and religious faith are the key to overcoming that which haunts us. Here the old wounds are deep indeed abandonment, addiction, decades-old racial conflict, and lots of child abuse and Lamb does not hold back describing them in all their messiness. As he did in his Oprah-endorsed blockbusters She's Come Undone (1992) and I Know This Much Is True (1998), Lamb avoids irony and tends to spoon-feed his readers rather than let them find their own meanings in the text. But few authors are as compassionate toward their characters or as stirring in their redemption narratives. Librarians should expect heavy demand. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: The publisher's publicity campaign will match in intensity the public library response to a new book by a library favorite.--Driscoll, Brendan Copyright 2010 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

Set mostly in Connecticut, Lamb's (She's Come Undone) fifth novel takes on race, class, sexuality, and art, sometimes clumsily, yet the complex plot is captivating. On the brink of her second marriage, artist Annie Oh fis plagued by "lifestyle guilt." After a tormented childhood-a flood that killed her mother and sister; a stint in foster care; abuse at the hands of her cousin-Annie leaves her husband, Dr. Orion Oh, for a woman: art dealer Viveca Christophoulos-Shabbas. The Ohs' three children-all grown-accept their mother's decision, though Andrew is more reluctant than his sisters, Marissa and Ariane. Lamb seems eager to include many permutations of American identity: Orion is Chinese-Italian, Viveca is Greek-and previously married to an Arab man to boot. A section narrated by a Ku Klux Klansman's widow is unconvincing, torn between racism and apology. However Lamb excels at delivering unexpected blows to his characters, ratcheting up the suspense to the final page. Agent: Kassie Evashevski,United Talent Agency. (Nov.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

In Lamb's (Wishin' and Hopin') latest, the two major characters-artist Annie Oh and her ex-husband Orion-are still bound by the past and their three distinctly different children even as she is on the verge of marrying her art dealer patron, Viveca. Their present-day story is wrapped in more than one past-Annie's initial artistic forays inspired by the discovery of art created by a troubled lesser-known African American "primitive" painter, her own difficult childhood, and Orion's professional difficulties. Lamb creates a complex and terrifying villain in one of Annie's relatives, and readers are forced constantly to reexamine their sympathies for one character or another. The novel is perfectly suited to its multiple readers, including Maggi-Meg Reed, George Guidall, Edoardo Ballerini, and the author as Orion. VERDICT Highly recommended for fiction audiences and lovers of well-presented audiobooks. ["Clear and sweetly flowing; highly recommended," read the starred review of the Harper hc, LJ 9/15/13.]-Joyce -Kessel, Villa Maria Coll., Buffalo (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.