We Are Water is a disquieting and ultimately uplifting audiobook about a marriage, a family, and human resilience in the face of tragedy, from Wally Lamb, the New York Times best-selling author of The Hour I First Believed and I Know This Much is True.
After 27 years of marriage and three children, Anna Oh - wife, mother, outsider artist - has fallen in love with Viveca, the wealthy Manhattan art dealer who orchestrated her success. They plan to wed in the Oh family's hometown of Three Rivers in Connecticut. But the 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 a layered portrait of marriage, family, and the inexorable need for understanding and connection, told in the alternating voices of the Ohs: nonconformist, Anna; 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. 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 compassion, Wally Lamb brilliantly captures the essence of human experience and the ways in which we search for love and meaning in our lives.
The complete list of narrators includes Robin Miles and Sandy Rustin.
©2013 Wally Lamb (P)2013 HarperCollinsPublishers
Emotional, engrossing, and suspenseful
The flashbacks through each of the character's lives really helped create a journey for the reader. The most memorable though would have to be the backstory of Kent. As a therapist who works with pedophiles on occasion, Mr. Lamb definitely did his homework in illustrating the typical thought patterns and distortions that are frequently found within that population. As disturbing as those scenes were, they were crucial to character development and plot formation.
Probably the scene when Andrew's fiancée calls into the Dr. Laura show. Just spot on in satire.
It would probably be Annie. Again, as a therapist specializing in trauma, I'm interested in how trauma in childhood affects a person's behavior, relationships, and functioning later in life. Specifically, I'd like to know how she sees the intergenerational nature of trauma and how it manifests itself in generations down the line. I'd love to talk to her about how her work helps channel her thoughts and feelings.
As usual, Wally Lamb delivers. I felt as if my allegiance to each character was challenged each time I would get another glimpse into their backstory and childhood experiences. This resonated for me as my own personal philosophy is that we should always be challenging our deeply held notions and beliefs, applying critical thinking skills to issues in addition to just going with our gut and constantly reading or seeking out information that only serves to reinforce that we are correct or right in our beliefs. It's imperative that we see our fellow man/woman as multifaceted and consider their experiences that got them to where they are when we encounter them. Lamb does a brilliant job of providing that dichotomy of good/bad in each of his characters, making it easy to lose yourself (as a reader) in their humanity while at the same time being acutely aware of their downfalls.
An additional note on the use of various voices in the audiobook: BRILLIANT! I have only listened to a few audiobooks as I'm fairly new to this medium, but I thoroughly enjoyed the different voices for different characters. It helped to enhance the storytelling experience in a way I wish the other books I've listened to would follow.
Very thought provoking & well performed. It provoked a number of driveway moments ...
Listening, allows the mind to enter the magical realm ......
Have the book read by a narrator (s) who understands the emotions of the story. It took a little while, however I began to enjoy the first chapter. Then skipped two through nine due to narration. I listened to chapter 10, because I enjoyed the narrator in other books, however not so much for this story line. I gave up at chapter 11 and returned the book.
Mostly the narration style.
Mechanical drone of the Narrators. The complaining, and whining, and over analyzation of every little situation by of the characters. I wanted to reach out and pinch the narrators to wake them up at times.
The slow delivery of the story and chapter points. Perhaps there was a redeeming quality hidden somewhere in the blah blah blah parts, which I did not listen to........
I'll start with what I liked best. I liked the way that the novel rises out of the roots of the story of a poor, young, self-taught black artist in the 1950s and that all the things that happen to him give rise to everything else in the novel and touch every single life. An author gets to play God, and Lamb does it really really well. The way he sees lives unfolding and the interconnectedness between people in generation after generation and the way they're impacted by the moment in the culture in which they live resonates with me, and I think Lamb is a genius in that way.
He chose to write in a point of view that shifts from character to character AND he makes them all first person present tense. It's quite ambitious to do both. It's like this: I am driving...I take a drink of water...I see a sign for a restaurant I used to go to...I change the channel on the radio...etc. That kind of thing all through the novel. What he gains in the sense of immediacy that works really well in pivotal moments he loses in how self conscious it seems at other times. This is not helped by two of the narrators--the one for Vivica and especially the one for Annie Oh--who overact. They're so affected. It's funny because I listened to the interview with Lamb at the conclusion of the book and he talked about his experience narrating the part of Orion Oh, how the director told him not to overact. Why didn't the director give the same direction to the other actors? While some of the actors' narrations got in the way of the novel, Lamb's effortlessly conveyed his character.
Finally--there are some violent parts of the book that are too much for me. But that is most likely just me. I am more sensitive to violence than most people.
The multiple readers add tremendous flavor to the characters, making it one of my 10 favorite audio books to date.
I'm only half way through the book and am not sure if I will continue. I really liked the prologue and I felt that only good things would follow. The following chapters alternate between Orion and Annie. Orian's chapters are fine but the female narrator's voice is so pretentious that I have trouble listening. Not sure if I'll listen to the rest simply because of her.
Wally Lamb weaves themes of child sexual abuse and loss into a very interesting tale about artists. He gives back stories on the characters as the plot moves forward, and alternately narrates in the first person voice of 3 of the main characters.
The book had several alternating narrators, including the author, which made the listening very enjoyable.
Th author is one of the main characters. Still can't get his voice and story out of my head. A must read!
The story of the characters had me very interested. I was never bored, especially with the audible book as it was narrated by several different people. I found myself rolling my eyes a few times with the degree of personal flaws of every single character. It was a bit much and that is my only major complaint. This was read by my book group and liked
"My favourite book of last year"
This book was just so incredible I'm so glad I've come across this author. The reviews are excellent and there really isn't anyhinh stopping you from downloading. I love any book on family dynamics and I like books read from individual view points, this combines both.
The story from the paedophile's view point was highly uncomfortable but this is a reality in this world and just shows the skill of the author (who also narrates one of the characters).
I can't recommend this book enough and the second book of wally lamb's is now in my wish list.
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