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The Water Cure

A Novel
Written by: Sophie Mackintosh
Length: 7 hrs and 10 mins
3.5 out of 5 stars (11 ratings)
Price: CDN$ 30.70
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Publisher's Summary

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

LONGLISTED FOR THE 2018 MAN BOOKER PRIZE

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

What the critics say

“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)

"Chilling...unsettling...a story that feels both futuristic and like an eerily familiar fable." (Alexandra Alter, The 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.” (The Guardian)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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

Good premise- so-so delivery

I am a hardcore fan of the futuristic dystopian genre, and I was very excited to read this book based on reviews. However, I found the story developed too slowly and it was hard to stay absorbed in it. The narrators did a great job, although it seems like there are parts from the mother's perspective at the end of chapters that don't use a different narrator, which was very confusing the first couple of times it happened. In the end, I did not find this book as satisfying as I had hoped, but it was still pretty good.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Tension

Right from the first words, there was an odd tension in this story. I was fascinated by it and the never-quite-answered questions I have are still lingering in my thoughts. I recommend.

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  • Brittany Clemens
  • CHICAGO, IL, US
  • 2019-01-08

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 of 21 people found this review 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
  • isisimages
  • kingston, NY, United States
  • 2019-02-07

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 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • H. Easom
  • Menlo Park, CA USA
  • 2019-02-12

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Drew K.
  • Roswell, Georgia
  • 2019-03-18

somewhat predictable

A little slow in the beginning. The story left a lot of unanswered questions but it did tease on the questions that were answered.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Katherine
  • Philadelphia, PA, United States
  • 2019-03-16

Started over immediately upon finishing

I am obsessed with this book. It takes some time to get settled into the situation, but it's worth every confusion. The writing is gorgeous, the characters compelling even if not quite likable, and Mackintosh moves around in time like it's simple, which impressed me to no end. It's not an easy book to understand or to digest, as its themes are pretty devastating and disturbing. I do consider this to be very feminist, in that it envisions a different social structure for the sexes, and challenging the status quo position of women in society is inherently feminist, regardless of outcome. It's a fascinating take on gender roles, fear, and enforced ignorance. It examines the negative effects that such isolation and inculcation can have on those who literally do not know any better, or any different, and in the end, we're left so unsure it makes us do the work, ourselves, to consider what might be sound and true. I loved this novel so much I have listened to it twice and just bought the hardcover so that I can see it on the page--the readers are lovely and very talented, but I have a lot of questions about the book's actual structure, so I'd like to read it that way, too.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • SRQ
  • 2019-03-08

No rhyme or reason

There isn’t enough narrative explaining the bizarre behaviors practiced by the girls and women who are central to the story. It’s a very uninteresting mosh of surfacey characters and nonsensical behavior.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 2019-03-07

I didn’t get it

I kept waiting for the plot to resolve and for things to be explained in this book and they never were. I finished the book as confused and disturbed as when I started it

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Alyx Picard
  • Oklahoma City, Oklahoma United States
  • 2019-03-04

Bloated

I wanted so badly to like this novel. It started strong and then fizzled somewhere in the second part. This is very much written like a YA novel with very adult themes. Complete plausibility of the story aside, the audio production sinks with inconsistencies in the performer's pronunciations of character names. Let this one float by.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Jean L
  • 2019-02-24

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.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Marvelanne
  • 2019-02-08

A depressing story told with competent prose.

Depressing and drags on. Interestig ending but not worth the slow middle. better as a short story.