The Weight of Water, by Anita Shreve

Cover ImageFinished 7-13-10, rating 4.5/5, fiction, pub. 1997

“Rich, I swear I think marriage is the most mysterious covenant in the universe.  I’m convinced that no two are alike.  More than that, I’m convinced that no marriage is like it was just the day before.  Time is the significant dimension-even more significant than love.  You can’t ask a person what his marriage is like because it will be a different marriage tomorrow.  We go in waves.”

page 166

Jean is a married mother of a five-year old girl and a photographer.  She and her family are on her brother-in-law’s  boat on the islands off of Maine researching a story for a magazine feature.  As Jean takes pictures of the island where a horrific crime took place in the 1800’s, she becomes convinced that her husband is having an affair with her brother-in-law’s beautiful girlfriend.   This story is spliced with the truth about what really happened all those years ago.

It is haunting, sad, and drew me in right away.  Beautifully told by alternating the past with the present I was even more invested in the old mystery surrounding a double murder and life on the inhospitable islands at the time.  It was made better because it is based on a true story.  Shreve used the old courtroom transcripts word for word, but made up the rest.  It definitely made me curious about the real murders.

This is not a long novel and one that will keep you riveted.  I never did fully connect with Jean, but I was fully engaged in the story.   It left me thinking well after I finished reading and that is about as good a recommendation as I can give.  I absolutely loved it!

This is from my personal library and was chosen by Piroska and Wanda.  Here’s what Wanda had to say…”One of my all-time favourites.”

26 thoughts on “The Weight of Water, by Anita Shreve

  1. Beth Hoffman says:

    You said something that I, too, experienced. While I never really connected with the characters, I ultimately did enjoy the story. I’ve always liked Shreve’s writing — my favorite is The Pilots Wife.

  2. Jo-Jo says:

    I also enjoyed this story and Shreve is one of my favorite authors. It’s eery when I think back because I read this book over a weekend when we spent the whole time boating.

  3. Marce says:

    I have only read Testimony and really enjoyed it. I promised to read another this year to try to decide if I will slowly get through them all. I think I will.

  4. Bumble says:

    I’m glad you found a book to love. I personally just did not enjoy this one and haven’t read any further of her work. I went back and looked at my brief review on Goodreads – it seems quite a bit went over my head and I didn’t like the ending:

    “I didn’t like the manner in which the author jumped from the main character, Jean’s, story and the story of the people Jean was researching – Maren & her family. Too jumbled and I just didn’t get the parallels. When she finally got to the parts of each story that I was most interested in, she stopped writing. She wrote with such detail all the way through and then skipped over details of the things she had made me most curious to know. Perhaps that is why I didn’t really buy into the ending …more I didn’t like the manner in which the author jumped from the main character, Jean’s, story and the story of the people Jean was researching – Maren & her family. Too jumbled and I just didn’t get the parallels. When she finally got to the parts of each story that I was most interested in, she stopped writing. She wrote with such detail all the way through and then skipped over details of the things she had made me most curious to know. Perhaps that is why I didn’t really buy into the ending she created for Maren.”

    • stacybuckeye says:

      I didn’t always get the parallels either, but I actually liked the way she alternated the storylines. It worked for me. I was more interested in Maren’s story than in Jean’s, so the ending wasn’t as dramatic for me as it might have been, but I felt that it was consistent with the rest of Jean’s story.
      I think you might like The Pilot’s Wife better. It’s the only other Shreve novel I’ve read and it was very good, not nearly as ‘jumbled’ as this one.

  5. pinkflipflops says:

    I just got this book in the mail from a giveaway. I was going to start it today but I got Jennifer Weiner’s new book Fly Away Home, at the library so I am digging into that first.

  6. CeeCee says:

    I like Shreve’s book even though I haven’t read one in a long while. I bought some of her books on sale from Barnes and Noble then put them on my shelf. Shame on me!

    • stacybuckeye says:

      Although it been a few years I really liked The Pilot’s Wife. Maybe even better than this one but it was before blogging and it’s hard for me to remember.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s