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Summerwater par Sarah Moss

Summerwater (édition 2020)

par Sarah Moss (Auteur)

MembresCritiquesPopularitéÉvaluation moyenneMentions
2722676,716 (3.86)86
Auteurs:Sarah Moss (Auteur)
Info:Picador (2020), Edition: Main Market, 208 pages
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Summerwater par Sarah Moss


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Affichage de 1-5 de 26 (suivant | tout afficher)
The setting for this short novel is a group of summer cabins around a loch in remote Scotland. In a series of vignettes we are introduces to the various inhabitants of the cabins, their lives and concerns of the moment, beginning in the predawn hours with Justine, a young wife and mother going for her sacrosanct run--the only time she gets to herself. The novel proceeds episodically throughout the day, the cold Scottish rain ever present, as in each section we meet a new set of characters. There are several families with young children, a family with teenagers, an elderly couple, a young engaged couple, as well as a group of "foreigners" (Romanians) that several of the other vacationers feel are too loud. The novel ends with the events culminating in the Romanian cabin after midnight.

At first this seems a quiet book, in which nothing much is happening. But with each episode, a sense of dread and forboding is being built. Although some reviews have described the book as being a "parade of inner lives" or "family life," in my view it is actually a psychological thriller.


3 1/2 stars ( )
  arubabookwoman | Oct 27, 2021 |
One day at a remote group of wooden cabins by a loch in Scotland. We have all been there at sometime and Summerwater conjures up this place beautifully. It is raining incessantly, how can it rain so much. The short novel unfolds over one day with different stories from different people, young and old. The reader is in their lives and also observes the other holidaymakers from their point of view. It is a claustrophobic place and I felt for the people that needed to just get out of the park and go somewhere. A woman goes running in the early morning. The elderly couple drive to a cafe. A young man takes the kayak on the water. The children play by the loch. It is all familiar and yet there is a darkness and the suspense builds to the end. Haunting isn't a word I use often but I have a feeling that it is a word waiting to be used for this novel. It will stay with me, the pictures were so vivid and the drama so tightly written. ( )
  CarolKub | Sep 12, 2021 |

This is an astonishingly powerful book. The audiobook is only four and a half hours long but I felt, when I completed it, that I'd been on a long and absorbing journey that must have lasted for days. When I looked up and tried to summarise what the book was about, I realised that actually, nothing much happened and what did happen was in the final pages and left me to draw my own conclusions. I realised I had just spent four and half hours inside the heads of various people who were spending a miserable, rainy midsummers day in run-down chalets next to a loch in Scotland.

The start was stunning and yet the action consisted of a forty-something woman on holiday in a cabin in Scotland with her husband and her kids, going for a dawn run in the rain. The stunning part was that, from the first sentence to the last, I was completely inside her head. Listening to her interior monologue as she ran, I learned about her history, her hopes, her relationship with her husband and why she runs. It was marvellous. As was the next head I spent time in and the one after that and the one after that. I felt great empathy for a young mother who when granted an hour free from her kids by her meaning-to-be-considerate husband, spent twenty minutes of the hour trying to decide what to do with her hour's freedom and wondering if her husband would be disappointed if she used it to finish cleaning the chalet so she could relax in a space free from other people's dirt.

But there was more to the book than a series of opportunities for risk-free voyeurism. In between the head-hopping, there was a series of reflections on the geography and geology of the area, raising my awareness of the vast spans of time it had been there and the slow but inexorable rate of change and both the insignificance and the importance of how a single midsummer's day was spent. As I went from head to head, I understood more about how these people saw each other. The way that they misunderstood, envied, empathised with or were offended by each other because of differences in age and class and expectations and, in the case of one child, a frightening but believable psychopathy that no one wanted to admit they'd noticed.

The story slowly moves around the only people whose heads we never get inside of, a group of Romanians who work during the day and party loudly in their cabin at night. There was no psychodrama here. No heavy hints of misdeeds or inexorably escalating conflict, just a sense that they had everyone's attention because they were 'other', not 'us'. How they were treated became a litmus test of 'us' rather than an assessment of 'them'.

This was my first time reading Sarah Moss and the quality of her writing, the depth of her vision and the subtlety of her storytelling amazed me.

I'm certain that 'Summerwater' is one of those books that I would get more out of with each re-read, not because there's anything impenetrable in the writing or the plot but because it seemed to me that as I was being taken inside the heads of all these people, I was being asked 'And what do you think? How like these people are you? What would you do in their place? How do you feel about that?' and I know my answers would change over time.

I strongly recommend the audiobook version. Morven Christie's narration was a joy to listen to. Click on the SoundCloud link below to hear her for yourself:

Of course, I may end up buying the ebook version just so that, next time, I can look in more detail at how Sarah Moss works her magic. In November, when Halloween Bingo is over, I'll be reading the only other Sarah Moss book in my TBR pile 'The Tidal Zone'.

Sarah Moss

Sarah Mossis an English writer and academic. She has published six novels, as well as a number of non-fiction works and academic texts. Her work has been nominated three times for the Welcome Book Prize.

She is currently an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at University College Dublin’s School of English, Drama and Film in the Republic of Ireland.

( )
  MikeFinnFiction | Sep 9, 2021 |
I'm not sure where I got the book bullet for this book set on a single rainy day in Scotland, but it did not work for me. I read about 1/3 of it before giving up. ( )
  thornton37814 | Aug 2, 2021 |
In my top ten ( )
  kjuliff | Jul 26, 2021 |
Affichage de 1-5 de 26 (suivant | tout afficher)
Everyone is hiding something and the rain won’t stop in the Ghost Wall writer’s nightmarish tale of a day spent holidaying by a loch...Moss’s ability to conjure up the fleeting and sometimes agonised tenderness of family life is unmatched, and here, as in The Tidal Zone in particular, she sketches so lightly the all-but-invisible conflicts and compromises that can make cohabitation both a joy and a living hell..... Observing the way we subtly edit ourselves and one another – the limits that puts on us, as well as the strengths it creates – is Moss’s metier....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 that at times her simple, pellucid prose and perfectly judged free indirect speech feel almost like documentary or nonfiction – there is an artfulness to her writing so accomplished as to conceal itself. In Summerwater, as in Ghost Wall, Moss’s politics are crystal clear; but it’s the messy complexities and frailties we all harbour about which she has the most to say.

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Nom de l'auteur(e)RôleType d'auteurŒuvre ?Statut
Sarah Mossauteur(e) principal(e)toutes les éditionscalculé
Christie, MorvenNarrateurauteur secondairequelques éditionsconfirmé
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