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This is the Water: A Novel
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Published:
Harper Perennial 2014
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Description

From Yannick Murphy, award-winning author of The Call, comes a fast-paced story of murder, adultery, parenthood, and romance, involving a girls' swim team, their morally flawed parents, and a killer who swims in their midst.

In a quiet New England community members of swim team and their dedicated parents are preparing for a home meet. The most that Annie, a swim-mom of two girls, has to worry about is whether or not she fed her daughters enough carbs the night before; why her husband, Thomas, hasn't kissed her in ages; and why she can't get over the loss of her brother who shot himself a few years ago.

But Annie's world is about to change. From the bleachers, looking down at the swimmers, a dark haired man watches a girl. No one notices him. Annie is busy getting to know Paul, who flirts with Annie despite the fact that he's married to her friend Chris, and despite Annie's greying hair and crow's feet. Chris is busy trying to discover whether or not Paul is really having an affair, and the swimmers are trying to shave milliseconds off their race times by squeezing themselves into skin-tight bathing suits and visualizing themselves winning their races.

When a girl on the team is murdered at a nearby highway rest stop—the same rest stop where Paul made a gruesome discovery years ago—the parents suddenly find themselves adrift. Paul turns to Annie for comfort. Annie finds herself falling in love. Chris becomes obsessed with unmasking the killer.

With a serial killer now too close for comfort, Annie and her fellow swim-parents must make choices about where their loyalties lie. As a series of startling events unfold, Annie discovers what it means to follow your intuition, even if love, as well as lives, could be lost.

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
07/29/2014
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780062294913
ASIN:
B00GG02SIA
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Yannick Murphy. (2014). This is the Water: A Novel. Harper Perennial.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Yannick Murphy. 2014. This Is the Water: A Novel. Harper Perennial.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Yannick Murphy, This Is the Water: A Novel. Harper Perennial, 2014.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Yannick Murphy. This Is the Water: A Novel. Harper Perennial, 2014. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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        Yannick Murphy is the author of The Call; Signed, Mata Hari; Here They Come; and The Sea of Trees, as well as two story collections and several children's books. She is the recipient of a Whiting Writers' Award, a National Endowment for the Arts Award, a Chesterfield Screenwriting Award, a Pushcart Prize, and the Laurence L. & Thomas Winship/PEN New England Award. Her work has appeared in The Best American Nonrequired Reading and The O. Henry Prize Stories. She lives in Vermont with her husband and children.

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shortDescription

From Yannick Murphy, award-winning author of The Call, comes a fast-paced story of murder, adultery, parenthood, and romance, involving a girls' swim team, their morally flawed parents, and a killer who swims in their midst.

In a quiet New England community members of swim team and their dedicated parents are preparing for a home meet. The most that Annie, a swim-mom of two girls, has to worry about is whether or not she fed her daughters enough carbs the night before; why her husband, Thomas, hasn't kissed her in ages; and why she can't get over the loss of her brother who shot himself a few years ago.

But Annie's world is about to change. From the bleachers, looking down at the swimmers, a dark haired man watches a girl. No one notices him. Annie is busy getting to know Paul, who flirts with Annie despite the fact that he's married to her friend Chris, and despite Annie's greying hair and crow's feet. Chris is busy trying to discover whether or not Paul is really...

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From Yannick Murphy, award-winning author of The Call, comes a fast-paced story of murder, adultery, parenthood, and romance, involving a girls' swim team, their morally flawed parents, and a killer who swims in their midst.

In a quiet New England community members of swim team and their dedicated parents are preparing for a home meet. The most that Annie, a swim-mom of two girls, has to worry about is whether or not she fed her daughters enough carbs the night before; why her husband, Thomas, hasn't kissed her in ages; and why she can't get over the loss of her brother who shot himself a few years ago.

But Annie's world is about to change. From the bleachers, looking down at the swimmers, a dark haired man watches a girl. No one notices him. Annie is busy getting to know Paul, who flirts with Annie despite the fact that he's married to her friend Chris, and despite Annie's greying hair and crow's feet. Chris is busy trying to discover whether or not Paul is really having an affair, and the swimmers are trying to shave milliseconds off their race times by squeezing themselves into skin-tight bathing suits and visualizing themselves winning their races.

When a girl on the team is murdered at a nearby highway rest stop—the same rest stop where Paul made a gruesome discovery years ago—the parents suddenly find themselves adrift. Paul turns to Annie for comfort. Annie finds herself falling in love. Chris becomes obsessed with unmasking the killer.

With a serial killer now too close for comfort, Annie and her fellow swim-parents must make choices about where their loyalties lie. As a series of startling events unfold, Annie discovers what it means to follow your intuition, even if love, as well as lives, could be lost.

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reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: New York Times Book Review
      • content: "An inventive thriller set in suburbia — and in the troubled minds of her characters. . . . Murphy proves skillful at generating a proper climate of dread . . . But her real accomplishment is her study of the anxieties reflected in the exacting rules of the club."
      • premium: False
      • source: Wall Street Journal
      • content: "A domestic tale and unlikely crime thriller, adds a striking new wrinkle to the author's consistently surprising body of work. . . . Ms. Murphy excels at such intimate observations of everyday family life. . . . A pulse-raising thriller."
      • premium: False
      • source: Boston Globe
      • content: "Compelling. . . . Style and substance and swimming mesh perfectly into a page-turner that sweeps you along with the power of a winning breaststroke. . . . This is the Water is the perfect, refreshing drip in the pool for the dog days of summer."
      • premium: False
      • source: A.V. Club, "A"
      • content: "Murphy's writing is disarming in that it captures the way people actually think. . . . An uncommon story. This Is The Water is quietly unlike anything else."
      • premium: False
      • source: Oprah.com, 7 Best Binge-Reads of Summer
      • content: "Mesmerizing. . . . The resulting intimacy you develop with each character takes this book beyond compelling into seriously addictive: You feel as they feel, be it fear, loss, longing or that most gripping of all feelings, love. Do not miss it."
      • premium: False
      • source: Publishers Weekly (starred review)
      • content: "Obscenely suspenseful. . . . In Murphy's hands, the structure becomes almost hypnotic—and when the story hits full speed in the final quarter, the suspense becomes almost excruciating."
      • premium: False
      • source: Kirkus Reviews
      • content: "Murphy seasons the rising tension with humor. . . . A different sort of murder yarn that boasts twists in both the style and the plot."
      • premium: False
      • source: Mother Jones, The Best Books of 2014
      • content: "This Is the Water isn't just a good airplane read. . . . Murphy's hauntingly lovely writing will hold plenty of appeal for a broader audience."
      • premium: False
      • source: Booklist (starred review)
      • content: "[A] propulsive, psychologically lush, witty, and unpredictable novel. . . . Murphy's evocation of feverish competition, stressed marriages, and the shocking banality of a serial killer's inner life coalesce in a novel of acute observation, penetrating imagination, and rare agility that is capped by a resounding denouement."
      • premium: False
      • source: Daily Mail (London)
      • content: "A gifted storyteller with an unusual, hypnotic voice. . . . The nuances of small-town life are superbly captured in prose reminiscent of Philip Roth, but it is menace that drives the story forward. Truly original, it casts a spell that lingers in your mind."
      • premium: False
      • source: Shelf Awareness
      • content: "This Is the Water is a chilling combination of crime and domestic drama, and its effects linger."
      • premium: False
      • source: Cleveland Plain Dealer
      • content: "Almost unbearably suspenseful, this novel propels the reader mercilessly toward a stunning conclusion."
      • premium: False
      • source: The Daily News
      • content: "A suspenseful story about a serial killer stalking a high school girls swim team in a quiet New England town."
      • premium: False
      • source: Columbus Dispatch
      • content: "By skipping among the minds of many of her characters, and emphasizing the discrepancy between what they know at any given point in time and what the reader knows, Murphy amps up the suspense."
      • premium: False
      • source: Bookreporter.com
      • content: "This is the Water offers a rare combination of literary merit and genuine suspense. It is lyrical and fluid, like the swimming pool that plays such a key role in its prose."
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        Starred review from March 10, 2014
        With her obscenely suspenseful latest, Murphy (The Call, named one of PW’s best books of 2011), who is known for her stylistic experimentation, tries out a second-person perspective and a continual “this is” structure that takes some getting used to, but that works thanks to the fact that the author breaks up the book into 48 short chapters. “You” are Annie, a New England mom driving your two daughters to and from swim meets, married to an emotionally aloof husband whose encyclopedic mind and frequent recitations of factual tidbits drive you crazy. But you, the novel’s protagonist, don’t know everything that you, the reader, know—for instance, only the reader knows the identity of a serial killer scoping out potential next victims on the swim team. Therefore the book’s real tension centers on which of the characters will uncover the killer first, making this inverted murder mystery a “whogotit” rather than a whodunit. Potential detectives include the beautiful Chris, a fellow swim team parent; her husband, Paul, whom Annie develops a crush on; Mandy, the facility janitor; and even the unlikely Dinah, one of the more amusing characters—a villain of the judgmental suburban mom variety. Though the novel starts off galloping, it does slow in the middle as Annie’s thoughts become tiresomely repetitive (she dwells on Paul to distract herself from recurring memories of her brother’s suicide, even after Paul reveals to her his secret connection to the ongoing murders). But in Murphy’s hands, the structure becomes almost hypnotic—and when the story hits full speed in the final quarter, the suspense becomes almost excruciating.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        June 15, 2014
        An offbeat thriller sets a serial killer loose among young swimmers in New England and tests the reader's tolerance for textual quirks.Countless sentences begin "This is," as Murphy (The Call, 2011, etc.) assumes the voice of a preschool teacher to detail the world of pre-college swimming, where hours of repetitive practice are distilled in seconds of competition monitored by anxious parents. Murphy also presents the thoughts of swim-mom Annie in what for this woman is the aptly self-conscious "you" of the second person. Stalking all the damp, dewy young flesh is a serial killer who has been on a break for many years when he suddenly decides to renew his slaughter. Revealed early in the book, he is craftily tied to a handsome swim dad's college fling. Other flings are mulled as Handsome's wife, Chris, suspects him of present-day dalliance. She seeks solace from Annie, who becomes infatuated with Handsome between bouts of revisiting her brother's suicide. As one slashed girl surfaces and more victims are expected, Murphy seasons the rising tension with humor, especially through a nicely sketched overbearing busybody who knows everything except how close she is to the killer. The author also manages to suggest with the repetition of "This is" the rhythm of bedside readings in childhood, reflecting innocence lost in more than one way for this unfairy tale, not to mention the constant refrain of all those laps up and down the pool. Even for readers who might still hear an annoying tic, the book's other, straightforward writing is often more than a cut above the thriller norm.Murphy sometimes recalls the exurban tribulations and titillations of Peter De Vries-albeit without all the puns-in a different sort of murder yarn that boasts twists in both the style and the plot.

        COPYRIGHT(2014) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        Starred review from July 1, 2014
        This is the water . . . This is the swim mom . . . This is the facility. This is the cadence of virtuoso Murphy's latest propulsive, psychologically lush, witty, and unpredictable novel, a tale of young competitive swimmers and their parents. In her tenth book, Murphy deepens her immersion in Vermont family life, rendered so intriguingly in The Call (2011), and adds a chilling dimension. With two daughters on the swim team, wedding photographer Annie is versed in the finer points of practice and meet protocol (don't mess with the coach) and racing suits (impossible to put on, painful to wear), though she struggles with the relentless demands of chauffeuring, laundry, cooking, and cajoling. She is also grieving in the wake of her brother's suicide and worrying about her scientist husband's indifference to her. And she must contend with other swim moms: Dina, who is impossibly aggressive, andenviably beautiful Chris, who is worried that her equally dazzling husband is having an affair. Everything abruptly changes when a lovely and gifted swimmer is murdered. Will the terrified and enraged swim moms wait passively for justice? Murphy's evocation of feverish competition, stressed marriages, and the shocking banality of a serial killer's inner life coalesce in a novel of acute observation, penetrating imagination, and rare agility that is capped by a resounding denouement.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2014, American Library Association.)

subtitle
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Harper Perennial
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