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The Water Cure

by Sophie Mackintosh

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4862538,350 (3.29)38
"An extraordinary otherworldly debut... [Mackintosh] is writing the way that Sofia Coppola would shoot the end of the world: everything is luminous, precise, slow to the point of dread." --The Guardian The Handmaid's Tale meets The Virgin Suicides in this 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. Determined to protect his wife and daughters from the chaos and violence of men on the mainland, King moves them to an isolated island, lays out barbed wire, and anchored buoys with a clear message: Do not enter. He institutes cult-like rituals and therapies to fortify them from the spreading toxicity of a degrading world. When King disappears, they retreat further inward... until the day two men and a boy wash ashore. Sexual tensions and sibling rivalries flare as the sisters confront the amorphous threat the strangers represent. -- adapted from jacket… (more)
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» See also 38 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
I have mixed feelings towards The Water Cure. This book has been hyped up as a feminist dystopia and it really isn't by any means. Three women live on an island with their mother and "King" aka their dad, because according to the vague prose this book is riddled with, there is some kind of toxin that hurts women and men give it off (????). Of course the women only know this because it is what they have been told by their parents, nothing fishy there.... King goes missing and is assumed dead. Two men and a boy end up on their remote island seeking shelter. From the very start of the book the reader can feel something is off on the story the daughters are being told about toxins, which immediately eliminates the feminist dystopia ruse and I can't help but feel it got that label to get the book more attention or try to act like it is a feminist dystopian so the big surprise is a shock, in which case the story immediately falls apart). The vagueness of the prose style writing was a bit annoying as well. 3 stars because it kept my interest, but not much else. ( )
  wellreadcatlady | Jul 16, 2021 |
Not terrible. But I couldn’t be bothered finishing it. ( )
  mjhunt | Jan 22, 2021 |
Haunted. Haunting. Magically weird. Imagine "I Capture the Castle" with teeth -- sharp, precise, tearing teeth. ( )
  susanbooks | Dec 29, 2020 |
Haunting, beautiful, and brutal; I heard some echoes of "When It Changed" by Joanna Russ ( )
  mhartford | Dec 6, 2020 |
I read a number of reviews that were indicative that the perception of the book was that it was a story of a misogynistic dystopia, and the nonsensical endorsement from Margaret Atwood of " The Handmaid's Tale" fame ....." a gripping, sinister fable" ( there is no moral lesson imparted by The Water Cure, though the story is definitely gripping and sinister ) probably contributed to that perception. Just an FYI, Margaret Atwood did write other things that were not dystopian. The Water Cure is an extreme example of family breakdown, and that the desire for love and succor will always supersede anything and everything. ( )
  EvaJanczaruk | May 31, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
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p.203: As I watch the ghost move up and down in the surf, but not closer to shore, a fist of grief opens in my chest. There is a new wrongness in the air between us that threatens to engulf everything. This is what happens when the people you love leave you. The is what happens when the protection no longer holds.
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"An extraordinary otherworldly debut... [Mackintosh] is writing the way that Sofia Coppola would shoot the end of the world: everything is luminous, precise, slow to the point of dread." --The Guardian The Handmaid's Tale meets The Virgin Suicides in this 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. Determined to protect his wife and daughters from the chaos and violence of men on the mainland, King moves them to an isolated island, lays out barbed wire, and anchored buoys with a clear message: Do not enter. He institutes cult-like rituals and therapies to fortify them from the spreading toxicity of a degrading world. When King disappears, they retreat further inward... until the day two men and a boy wash ashore. Sexual tensions and sibling rivalries flare as the sisters confront the amorphous threat the strangers represent. -- adapted from jacket

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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.
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