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The Water Cure
LONGLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2018
'A gripping, sinister fable' - MARGARET ATWOOD, via Twitter
'An extraordinary debut novel. Otherworldly, luminous, precise... She is writing the way that Sofia Coppola would shoot the end of the world' Guardian
Shortlisted for the Books Are My Bag Breakthrough Award
'Bold, inventive, haunting... With shades of Margaret Atwood and Eimear McBride, you'll be bowled over by it' Stylist
'Visceral, hypnotic... with one of my favourite endings I've read in a long while' The Pool
Imagine a world very close to our own: where women are not safe in their bodies, where desperate measures are required to raise a daughter. This is the story of Grace, Lia and Sky, kept apart from the world for their own good and taught the terrible things that every woman must learn about love. And it is the story of the men who come to find them - three strangers washed up by the sea, their gazes hungry and insistent, trailing desire and destruction in their wake.
The Water Cure is a fever dream, a blazing vision of suffering, sisterhood and transformation.
'If you're a fan of The Handmaid's Tale you'll love this one' Evening Standard
'Immensely assured, calmly devastating' Katherine Angel, author of Unmastered
'A work of cool, claustrophobic beauty' Eli Goldstone, author of Strange Heart Beating
'Eerily beautiful, strange [and] unsettling' Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train
'Otherworldly, brutal and poetic: a feminist fable set by the sea, a female Lord of the Flies. It transported me, savaged me, filled me with hope and fear. It felt like a book I'd been waiting to read for a long time' Emma Jane Unsworth, author of Animals
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What Reviewers Are Saying
The Water Cure deserves a Sofia Coppola-style big-screen treatment, although its cultish overtones and sinister denouement are as reminiscent of The Wicker Man as The Virgin Suicides * The Literary Review * A superb debut * i * Eerie and unsettling, the novel exerts a hypnotic grip as the tension builds * Daily Mail * Powerful, mythic, seductively sinister... Her alternative world is as carefully imagined as one of Margaret Atwood's... [Sophie Mackintosh] is a writer to be reckoned with * Book Oxygen * Creepy and delightful, a portrayal of post-apocalyptic puberty, intermingling desire and despair. It has a pinch of Shirley Jackson, a dash of chlorine, and an essence all of its own -- Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, author of 'Harmless Like You' Eerie, electric, beautiful. It rushes you through to the end on a tide of tension and closely held panic. I loved this book -- Daisy Johnson, author of 'Fen' [A] lyrical debut, original and very atmospheric * Good Housekeeping * Otherworldly, brutal and poetic: a feminist fable set by the sea, a utopia gone awry, a female Lord of the Flies. It transported me, savaged me, filled me with hope and fear. It felt like a book I'd been waiting to read for a long time -- Emma Jane Unsworth, author of 'Animals' Uneasy, mythic, lawless... The atmospheric landscapes cloak trauma and violence in wisps of uncertainty, where bad feelings coalesce as both presciently felt and strangely unknowable * Frieze * A work of cool, claustrophobic beauty. Sophie Mackintosh writes devastatingly well about the complexities that women face in loving men, and in loving each other -- Eli Goldstone, author of 'Strange Heart Beating' A hypnotic read... This extraordinary debut is a feminist, quasi-dystopian read - great for fans of Hot Milk, The Girls and The Vegetarian * Elle * Electric [and] beautifully strange... Her novel is an exercise in minimalism * Times Literary Supplement * Powerfully unsettling, immensely assured, calmly devastating. It conjures a world both alien and familiar, exploring the physical and psychological cruelties enacted on women, by men, in the name of their protection, and the noble and ignoble uses to which anger can be put in a perverse world. This is a gem of a novel, and I was bowled over by it -- Katherine Angel, author of 'Unmastered' The Water Cure is eerily still and pure - with saline bite... Mackintosh asks if it is the traumas of our pasts that ultimately pose the greatest threat to our futures * New Statesman * Bold, inventive, haunting... With shades of Margaret Atwood and Eimear McBride, you'll be bowled over by it * Stylist (61 Books to Read This Spring) * An extraordinary debut... Otherworldly, luminous, precise * Guardian * Elemental... [A] utopia portrayed in spectral, organic prose... Mackintosh is a wonderful stylist; the full scope of her imagination, as well as the cohesion of her vision, is evident on every page... A seriously impressive feat * Irish Times * Searing, richly drawn, eerily compelling... As foreboding in what it holds back as in what it reveals * Stylist * Darkly gratifying, dreamy, primal, and arresting [as] a fairy tale... The overgrown grounds, with their perimeter of rusty barbed wire and shark-infested waters, resemble Sleeping Beauty's castle * New Yorker * Eerily beautiful, this strange, unsettling novel creeps up and grabs hold of you -- Paula Hawkins, author of 'The Girl on the Train' Stunning... A haunting story of abuse, death, and desire... Chilling and topical, a breathtaking debut * Dazed * Bewitching... [An] ambiguous utopia * Guardian * A feminist dystopian fairy tale, a sexual coming-of-age story and a survival-of-the-fittest tale. Evocative, suspenseful and bleak - in short, everything this age seems to be demanding * NPR * In raw, visceral prose, Mackintosh probes at ideas of the threat of male violence, the ways women are told to protect ourselves, love and sisterhood and survival. A hypnotic, stormy book, with one of my favourite endings I've read in a long while * The Pool *