We Are Water

We Are Water - Wally Lamb

I bought the Kindle version of this book with a Christmas GC from my sister.


In middle age, Anna Oh - wife, mother, outsider artist - has shaken her family to its core. After twenty-seven years of marriage and three children, Anna has fallen in love with Vivica, the wealthy, cultured, confident Manhattan art dealer who orchestrated her professional success.

Anna and Viveca plan to wed in the Oh family's hometown of Three Rivers in Connecticut, where gay marriage has recently been legalized. But the impending wedding provokes some very mixed reactions and opens a Pandora's Box of toxic secrets-dark and painful truths that have festered below the surface of the Ohs' lives.

We Are Water is an intricate and layered portrait of marriage, family, and the inexorable need for understanding and connection, told in the alternating voices of the Ohs-nonconformist Annie; her ex-husband, Orion, a psychologist; Ariane, the do-gooder daughter, and her twin, Andrew, the rebellious only son; and free-spirited Marissa, the youngest Oh. Set in New England and New York during the first years of the Obama presidency, it is also a portrait of modern America, exploring issues of class, changing social mores, the legacy of racial violence, and the nature of creativity and art.

With humor and breathtaking compassion, Wally Lamb brilliantly captures the essence of human experience in vivid and unforgettable characters struggling to find hope and redemption in the aftermath of trauma and loss. We Are Water is vintage Wally Lamb-a compulsively readable, generous, and uplifting masterpiece that digs deep into the complexities of the human heart to explore the ways in which we search for love and meaning in our lives.


First Thoughts: I was dying to read this book as soon as it was published. I've loved Wally Lamb's books since I picked up She's Come Undone back when I was in high school. While no other Lamb books have compared to She's Come Undone, I always know whatever he writes, I will read.


What I liked: It's very hard for me to pinpoint exactly what I liked about We Are Water. I really really loved this book, even though in many spots I almost couldn't read it because I found those chapters emotionally painful. But at the same time, I found those chapters and events to be necessary and I would have been upset if they had not been included. I loved the various view points, that was unique to Wally Lamb's previous novels as they were mostly told in first person with a secondary story told through journal entries...which I was never crazy about. So I was glad that this book was different and relevant. In both The Hour I First Believed and I Know This Much is True I admit that I skipped over a lot of the novels as I just could not get into those secondary stories.


What I didn't like: I found the beginning slow. It took while for me to get my bearings. I was a little disappointed that Annie and Orion's daughters only got a chapter each of their viewpoints and that Vivica didn't get a chapter. And again, I found some of the chapters painful to read. I almost couldn't get through some of those chapters. 


Overall, I was floored by We Are Water. It definitely surpassed the expectations I had for it and like She's Come Undone, it'll be one novel I will definitely revisit at sometime. Sad that now it'll probably be another five years or so before we'll get another Lamb novel.