The Water Cure

A Novel
Length: 7 hrs and 10 mins
3.5 out of 5 stars (291 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

"A gripping, sinister fable!" (Margaret Atwood, via Twitter)

LONGLISTED FOR THE 2018 MAN BOOKER PRIZE

ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR:
NPR •
GLAMOUR • GOOD HOUSEKEEPING • LIT HUB • THRILLIST

A 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.

©2019 Sophie Mackintosh (P)2019 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“Eerily beautiful, this strange, unsettling novel creeps up and grabs hold of you.” (Paula Hawkins, New York Times best-selling author of Girl on the Train)

"Ingenious and incendiary" (The New Yorker)

“An extraordinary otherworldly debut...[Mackintosh] is writing the way that Sofia Coppola would shoot the end of the world: Everything is luminous.” (The Guardian)

“Sensational…Mackintosh’s taut novel turns a keen, unsparing eye on violence, patriarchy, and desire.” (Esquire, 25 Most Anticipated Books of 2019)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Unique, strange, beautiful

I heard about this book through an NPR review and was quite interested in it. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect other than a post-apocalyptic sort of world (admittedly not my favorite genre). However, I listened to the novel in one day. It’s a truly unique story, with beautiful, fully developed characters. It’s surprising, impossible to predict, and beautifully read.

20 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Outright weird!

I wouldn't say don't listen... but then again I wouldn't say do... it is a quirky and bizarre story. A bit confusing in the beginning... but stick in there and you'll start to figure it all out. If weird is what the author was going for, she attained it. It's hard to say really what I felt about this book.. I didn't love it... but I found it curious.

2 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

What the...?

I sped the reading up to 2X because I am too tied to finishing what I start. Oh, how I wish I’d just thrown in the towel and skipped this one altogether. I can’t remember what compelled me to order this book, but I must have had a momentary lapse of reason. The writing was fine, but the story was awful, hard to follow at first and then fine to understand but with no redeeming qualities. This was not a feminist novel. In my view, feminism does not equate to man-hating, violent, or abusive — all of which describe the characters and sentiments in this book. Horrible. DO NOT waste your time.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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Save your credit!

Well, kids... this is what happens when you judge a book by its cover. It was so appealing and mysterious, and the synopsis so interesting that I had no idea that this was going to be just another "all men are pigs" rant. The story makes no sense and it bored me. Also, one of the three Audible narrators sounded like she was asleep (at least her part was brief, but still). Not worth the money.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

GOING TO NEED AN ANTIDOTE FOR THIS PARTICULAR CURE

I have always been dubious when it comes to audiobooks. How can anyone "read" a book without the actual, visceral aspects of reading: the intensity of the black on white of the words, the smell of the paper, turning the pages. Anything other than physically holding the work of art that is a book feels like cheating, but with an hour-long commute, I had to give audiobooks a try.

This was NOT the one to start with, however.

I'm an avid reader, and always have been. I like pretty much anything, though lean towards stories with female main characters, no matter how their journey unfolds. I'm not averse to historical or post-apocalyptic, and I don't shy away from anything with intense emotions, be they sadness or joy. I'm not at all sure where The Water Cure falls within all of this, and I don't think anyone could part/parcel it out to fit any particular category.

STORY: Seems like it was meant to be deep and powerful; was instead bland, drawn-out, confusing, and left me feeling frustratingly unsatisfied. I literally forced myself to get through this book; it was free and I still felt taken.

NARRATION: Could not tell the difference between the narrators or their stories. I've heard one narrator voice five different characters and was nowhere near as I was confused as three different narrators voicing four different people.

Since The Water Cure I have listened to more than 10 other audiobooks, and this remains the most disappointing by far. It was also the shortest read by at least an hour from my others, and yet still felt longer than a 10-day root canal.

RECOMMEND TO A FRIEND? Yeah, depends on what they've done to me and how badly I want to return the favor.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

oddly over rated

This book has three sisters, none of whom seems to have any curiosity. Granted, they've been under a form of strict mind control by astonishingly cruel parents all their lives. But we are listening to their inner thoughts. No secret rebellion, nada. When outsiders enter their world they don't ask them anything--where they come from, how they happened to wash up on the beach, do they have families, what is the outside world like... They just stare. They are hollow and viscous. Ugh. One might find this interesting as a dystopian psychological study in how to raise twisted, damaged humans. But the characters are not believable on any level. Even the visitors to the "island" seem to have no curiosity or initiative. Just murder.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Intriguing, but implausible and disappointing

Listened while on a long drive. I stuck with it. The vignettes within were gripping.

That said, I found myself in disbelief of the whole premise and backstory once it was finished. In the end, disappointing.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Frustrating

Getting through this story was like trying to get an answer out of a politician . You both know what’s going on m but he will never just come out and say it. It was a big disappointment. The prose was so lyrical and the reading was so well done that I stuck with it hoping it would get better. It never did.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Eh.

Eh...that’s all I can say about this book. Was it intriguing? Yes. But gaaaah it just kind of drug on and you get to the end and it’s just like that’s how it’s going to end? There was such an awesome premise going on here that it could have been soooooo much better. It’s not a dud, but it wasn’t a homerun.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

wierd

wierd story it doesn't make any sense to me. story liy was hard to follow.