Review: This is the Water by Yannick Murphy

E-BOOK; 288 P.
HARPER PERENNIAL, 2014
SOURCE: FROM THE PUBLISHER

This is a novel about a woman. About a mother. About a marriage. 

About a murder.

In the brightly lit public pool the killer swims and watches. Amongst the mothers cheering on their swim team daughters is Annie. Watching her two girls race, she’s thinking of other things. Her husband’s emotional distance. Her lost brother. The man she’s drawn to.

Then she learns a terrible secret. Now her everyday cares and concerns seem meaningless. Annie knows she has to act. Above all, she must protect her children. 

This is the Water is a book that surprised me. When requesting a copy for review, I thought it would be a typical crime novel about catching the killer. However, the book turned out to be so much more. This is the Water opens up its characters to the bone, revealing the gritty reality. It is a book about relationships, trust, adultery, and fear.

This is the story. It follows a New England swim team wherein both parents and swimmers try to find themselves. It follows a killer set on killing again, a marriage that is struggling, a swimmer wanting to improve her time, a sister who cannot forget the suicide of her brother. This is the Water follows several characters, but in the center is Annie, a fourty-something mother, who is loosing her energy to go on. She feels a distance has grown between herself and her husband, and finds more connection with Paul, another swim parent. However, Paul’s life is also a struggle, and as he spends more and more time at the office, his wife suspect that he’s cheating on her.  When one of the swimmers in the team is suddenly murdered, everyone has to come to terms with their past, and it seems that everyone carries a secret.

This is the writing. One thing that sets Murphy’s novel apart from others is her style of writing. Murphy uses the title phrasing, “This is the …”, several times in her novel to mark the change of perspective, to describe the surroundings or to introduce a new character. I enjoyed this very much as it gave also minor characters a voice – even the water in the swimming pool has something to say. Another memorable feature is her use of questions that reveal the inner thoughts of the main character. It works almost as a stream of consciousness, and reveals the confusion that inside our heads. This can, however, be tiring to read, especially if you’re not connecting with the character.

This is the format. This was my first time reading an e-book, and I did struggle with the new format especially in the beginning. It was hard to focus on the mood of the book, or find a good reading place since the book was on my laptop. However, it was a learning process and towards the end, I didn’t even think it any different from other reading forms. Once I was hooked on the story, the surrounding didn’t matter anymore. Nevertheless, I’m not entirely convinced of the suitability of e-books for reading from a laptop. Because I use most of my working hours on my laptop, I like to switch off in the evening by grabbing a book and curling to a chair with it. With an e-book, I found it harder to switch off, and kept checking emails, etc. when I was supposed to read. Nevertheless, I believe that I would not have had this problem if I owned an e-reader.

This is the Water is released on July 29, 2014.

4/5

This is Thomas the next morning saying, listen to this. This is you wanting to put your hands over your ears, because you are not in the mood to listen to observations about the decline of civilization or how Alzheimer’s is transmittable or how some people have more chimpanzee DNA than others.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

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