The Water Cure
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The Water Cure : LONGLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2018

3.64 (1,479 ratings by Goodreads)
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THE LITERARY DEBUT OF 2018: shortlisted for the Books Are My Bag Breakthrough Award

'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

'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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Product details

  • Hardback | 256 pages
  • 144 x 222 x 26mm | 377g
  • Hamish Hamilton Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0241334748
  • 9780241334744
  • 2,738

Review quote

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 * Bewitching... [An] ambiguous utopia * Guardian * 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' Searing, richly drawn, eerily compelling... As foreboding in what it holds back as in what it reveals * Stylist * [A] wildly confident debut... Take the strange social ceremonies of Yorgos Lanthimos' The Lobster and the pheromone-rich claustrophobia of Sophia Coppola's The Beguiled and you come close to the world Sophie Mackintosh conjures * AnOther Magazine * Eerily beautiful, this strange, unsettling novel creeps up and grabs hold of you -- Paula Hawkins, author of 'The Girl on the Train' 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 * Compulsive, eerily gorgeous prose, [it] will have you gripped until the end... A film adaptation feels inevitable... As far as debuts go, this is superb * Irish Times * Stunning... A haunting story of abuse, death, and desire... Chilling and topical, a breathtaking debut * Dazed * 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 * 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 * Tempest-like... [An] eerie, uncanny literary debut... Beautifully written, pared down [and] hypnotic * Sunday Times Culture * 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... She is writing the way that Sofia Coppola would shoot the end of the world * Guardian *
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About Sophie Mackintosh

Sophie Mackintosh won the 2016 White Review Short Story Prize and the 2016 Virago/Stylist Short Story competition, and has been published in Granta magazine and TANK magazine among others. The Water Cure is her first novel.
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Rating details

1,479 ratings
3.64 out of 5 stars
5 21% (314)
4 37% (542)
3 30% (441)
2 10% (153)
1 2% (29)
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