3.68 (4,812 ratings by Goodreads)
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The Sunday Times Top Ten Bestseller
'Superb' The Times
'Sharp, searching . . . utterly of the moment' Hilary Mantel, author of Wolf Hall
'So accomplished' Guardian
'A masterpiece' Jessie Burton, author of The Miniaturist
'One of her best' Irish Times
'Beautifully written, intense, powerful' David Nicholls, author of Sweet Sorrow

From the acclaimed author of Ghost Wall, Summerwater is a devastating story told over twenty-four hours in the Scottish highlands, and a searing exploration of our capacity for both kinship and cruelty in these divided times.

On the longest day of the summer, twelve people sit cooped up with their families in a faded Scottish cabin park. The endless rain leaves them with little to do but watch the other residents.

A woman goes running up the Ben as if fleeing; a retired couple reminisce about neighbours long since moved on; a teenage boy braves the dark waters of the loch in his red kayak. Each person is wrapped in their own cares but increasingly alert to the makeshift community around them. One particular family, a mother and daughter without the right clothes or the right manners, starts to draw the attention of the others. Tensions rise and all watch on, unaware of the tragedy that lies ahead as night finally falls.

Longlisted for the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction 2021.

'Nothing escapes her sly humour and brilliant touch. Deft and brimming with life, Summerwater is a novel of endless depth. A masterpiece.' Jessie Burton, author of The Miniaturist

'Summerwater may be her best so far.' The Times

'This latest display of Moss's imaginative versatility shine[s] with intelligence' Sunday Times
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Product details

  • Hardback | 208 pages
  • 144 x 224 x 29mm | 400g
  • Picador
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1529035430
  • 9781529035438
  • 57,260

Review quote

Sharp, searching, thoroughly imagined, it is utterly of the moment, placing its anxious human dots against a vast indifferent landscape; with its wit and verve and beautiful organisation it throws much contemporary writing into the shade! -- Hilary Mantel, Man Booker winning author of Wolf Hall Nothing escapes her sly humour and brilliant touch. Deft and brimming with life, Summerwater is a novel of endless depth. A masterpiece. -- Jessie Burton, author of The Miniaturist Moss's ability to conjure up the fleeting and sometimes agonised tenderness of family life is unmatched . . . A great part of a novelist's skill lies in the breadth of their sympathies and their ability to enter into the lives of people unlike themselves. Moss does this so naturally and comprehensively . . . there is an artfulness to her writing so accomplished as to conceal itself. -- Melissa Harrison, Guardian Summerwater is a triumph and confirms Sarah Moss as one of the best writers at work in Britain today. -- Fiona Mozley, author of Elmet Moss is a writer who can say more than most others in half the space. Her latest, a haunting story of alienation set on a Scottish campsite, is the summer's most interesting read * Independent * Summerwater is a beautiful book, written with delicacy and grace, yet with an undertow as dark as the Scottish loch by which its characters are holidaying in ignorance of the tragedy to come. If you are a huge fan of Moss's work, as I am, you will find yourself parceling it out, to read a chapter a day, like a gift. -- Louise Doughty, author of Apple Tree Yard Suffused with fascination . . . this latest display of Moss's imaginative versatility shine[s] with intelligence * The Times * This novel - about crisis and isolation in its own ways - moved and encouraged me in difficult times. Another deft, sensitive, crystalline book by Sarah Moss; I loved it. -- Megan Hunter, author of The End We Start From A masterful and immerse exercise in tension; here are the many conflicting voices of modern Britain in microcosm. Sarah Moss reminds us that society is only ever two short steps away from collapse. -- Benjamin Myers, author of The Offing For more than a decade, Sarah Moss has been crafting quiet, complex novels that make an indelible impression on the reader. This is one of her best, and most accessible, and should bring her work to a wider audience. * Irish Times * I read this brilliant novel in one greedy gulp. Sarah Moss is an acute observer of modern life and puts humanity on the page with deep understanding and wit. -- Cathy Rentzenbrink, author of The Last Act of Love With delicate precision, Summerwater takes the moral and emotional temperature of a whole society. It is matchless, too, in its blending of steely insight with humour and compassion. -- Pankaj Mishra, author of The Age of Anger Moss is the most brilliant writer. She deserves to win all the prizes. -- Joanna Trollope, author of City of Friends Moss has quietly, and it must be said remarkably quickly, been putting out some of the most interesting and carefully sculpted novels of recent years. * Financial Times * One of our very best contemporary novelists. * Independent * Moss's star is firmly in the ascendant * Guardian * One of the finest contemporary writers working in Britain today * Stylist * A superb novel about the tensions in families and relationships that erupt during the course of a doomed staycation. * The Times * Suitable summer reading in a pandemic, [Summerwater] describes one of the worst summer holidays anyone ever had, in a rain sodden Scottish holiday resort. Cheering in its way. -- Margaret Drabble, TLS Books of the Year This slim and often witty novel brilliantly captures what people think about when they're not thinking about what they're thinking about. The book, told through a series of internal monologues, flits through the minds of a group of rained-on holidaymakers staying next to a Scottish loch . . . But we know something dark is going to happen to this makeshift community. -- The Times, Best fiction books of the year 2020 A seductive multi-voiced novel. Some holiday cabins surrounded by pine forest beside a remote Scottish loch grow more claustrophobic and ominous as the days pass and the relentless rain falls on the inhabitants. And then the catastrophe happens . . . -- Val McDermid
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About Sarah Moss

Sarah Moss is the author of several novels including Summerwater, and a memoir of her year living in Iceland, Names for the Sea. Her novel Ghost Wall was longlisted for the Women's Prize in 2019. Sarah was born in Glasgow and grew up in the north of England. After moving between Oxford, Canterbury, Reykjavik, West Cornwall and the Midlands, she now lives in Dublin where she teaches English Literature and Creative Writing at UCD.
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Rating details

4,812 ratings
3.68 out of 5 stars
5 20% (950)
4 41% (1,979)
3 29% (1,392)
2 8% (380)
1 2% (111)
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