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review 2015-08-10 10:32
The Weight of Water; a charming, poignant ditty
The Weight of Water by Crossan, Sarah (2013) Paperback - Sarah Crossan

I picked up The Weight of Water by Sarah Crossan, in my local library whilst getting some books for my daughter; I was attracted to the cover by Oliver Jeffers, a kids’ author I have long admired (if you are ever stuck for a toddler’s present, you can never go wrong with How to Catch a Star or Lost and Found – they are true gems).


It tells the story of Kasienka, a Polish immigrant, arriving in Coventry with her mum, looking for their father. That sounds heavy, but that’s the wonder of this book; it deals with some very heavy issues – bullying, fitting in, immigration, growing up, first love – in a very light, touching and accessible way, written in – wait for it – poetry (but you don’t even notice the poetry, except how it helps to describe and punctuate Kasienka’s feelings).


Her writing skills are a real marvel; I was amazed at how she manages to fit everything in this slight book and was so surprised to find a charming, poignant, coming of age story. Lovely.


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Source: ellenallen.co/2015/08/10/the-weight-of-water-a-charming-poignant-ditty
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text 2015-02-26 23:53


I have several books that I read over and over.  Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell, The Weight of Water by Karen White, and the Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer have been my most read.  


What books are your home?

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review 2014-01-16 00:00
The Weight of Water
The Weight of Water - Sarah Crossan, Oliver Jeffers First dipped into the poems in the charity shop without realising it was a novel. Then read it cover to cover trying to go slowly. The narrative thread drives you on through the book so that it is really hard to stop reading one poem after another and the book is finished far too quickly. I loved the voice of the girl combined with the maturity of the author. Both shine through together similar to that of other favourite teenage girl characters (Dido, Emma Graham). And since finishing I have been dipping back into individual poems. Shall have to keep this book or give it away to someone special.
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review 2013-10-12 01:10
The Weight of Water
The Weight of Water - Anita Shreve I couldn't warm to this book. I think it tries too hard, it feels affected, insincere. It's mostly told from the perspective of Jean. She's a photographer sent to get photographs of Smuttynose, Maine, part of the Shoal Islands near Portsmouth, New Hampshire. In 1873, it was the setting of a gruesome double murder, so she visits the island accompanied by her husband, five-year-old daughter and her brother-in-law and his girlfriend. The novel is mostly written in a first person present voice that after far too many recent reads of literary fiction, I associate with an overreaching attempt at lyricism. I don't want to give the idea I always hate this technique--it can lend not just lyricism but an immediacy to a narrative if done well, but this felt strained to me, maybe because of the way from the beginning it bounced manically from paragraph to paragraph to the present to the past of the island to the background of Jean's relationship with her husband. When we reached the first part of a memoir from the one survivor of the murders discovered by Jean, I felt relieved to shift to that voice. But the relief didn't last too long, because I never really believed in the voice of Maren. For one, Maren claims to have included the text of another's letter by memory, then she closes the first part on how she's too tired to continue for now--both aspects of that narrative seemed very artificial. And as for the ultimate fate of that memoir... Well, what can I say? It didn't make me feel any more tender towards Jean. And how I felt about Jean, her husband and the other adults accompanying them? I never cared much. And in a first person narrative, especially one so obviously trying to break your heart, that's deadly. I found the novel depressing without ever being tragic in a cathartic way. I've never read Shreve before, and this novel doesn't make me want to read more of her.
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text 2013-07-07 17:23
Five Books about the Sea and Beaches
The Beach - Alex Garland
The Sea, The Sea - Iris Murdoch
The Sea - John Banville
The Weight Of Water - Anita Shreve
The Shipping News - Annie Proulx

I'm going on vacation pretty soon and while I won't be lying on a beach (or at least not much), I know a lot of people will be. Beaches and the sea mean a great deal to me because I grew up only a few yards away from both. The sea was that stormy stretch that separates the north of England from the flatlands of Holland and the beach was sandy and folded into shallow ridges by the tide and studded here and there with fossils we kids called 'Devil's Toenails'. After storms we'd comb it for treasures and mostly found bits of rope and driftwood, but one morning I did discover an octopus the size of my arm. I took it to school in a plastic box and my teacher, a staunch lady, let me show it to my class.


If you're going to a beach this summer, I hope you have as much fun as I did. Here are five books about the sea and beaches you might want to sample as you listen to the waves.


The Beach by Alex Garland


A young traveller in Thailand receives a map  in a backpackers' hostel from a man who kills himself later that night. Richard decides to use the map to find the mysterious beach the man told him about and takes a young French couple with him. But getting to the beach is only the beginning of a story which quickly descends into betrayal and murder.


The Sea, The Sea by Iris Murdoch


Theatre director Charles retires to a cottage by the sea intending to write his memoirs. A chance meeting with an old flame provokes him instead into a mission to force her to once again fall in love with him.


The Sea by John Banville


A story of reminiscence and coming to terms with loss. Max returns to the small seaside town in Ireland where he summered, hoping that reconnecting with his childhood will help him recover from the death of his wife. During his stay, he begins to remember his association with the eccentric Grace family and their twins.


The Weight of Water by Anita Shreve


A photographer Jean visits the New England island which was the scene of a brutal double murder many years before. She becomes obsessed with the story, which intermingles with her fear that her husband may be having an affair.


The Shipping News by E Annie Proulx


After the death of his no-good wife Petal, Quoyle takes the offer of his aunt to return with his two small daughters to the Newfoundland town of his forebears. There he must find a job, build a house and deal with the fact he's the last of a long line of sailors but happens to be terrified of water.




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