Set in New England, ‘The Forms of Water’ is a superb exploration of the complexities of family life, grief and the ties that continue to bind us to the past.
At the age of eighty, Brendan Auberon, a former monk, is now confined to a wheelchair in a nursing home. As a last wish, he is desperate to catch a final glimpse of the two hundred acres of woodland on which once stood his parental home. Half a century ago, the owners of the land were evicted from their homes and the land was flooded to create a reservoir which would provide water for the big city.
‘The Forms of Water’ is the story of what happens when Brendan convinces his staid nephew Henry to hijack the nursing home van to make this ancestral visit. What begins as a joke becomes infinitely more complex as the family roles begin to rearrange themselves.
A rich and absorbing look at the complexities of family life, at grief and at the ties that continue to bind us to the past.
Reviews of The Forms of Water
- ‘Subtle and strong…Barrett’s talents shine…Barrett not only gets the geographical terrain right, she has the emotional terrain down as well. Her writing…is insidious and fluid and as clean as a Berkshire stream. Long after the book has been shelved you’ll find yourself thinking of Brendan, a crowning achievement for any writer.’ Detroit News
- ‘Barrett returns with her speciality – a story about the tangled web of a family told in prose that’s spun smooth as silk…The strength this time around lies in Barrett’s fine writing and the haunting power of the water, rising to fill that reservoir. It was a real event, but like the best of fiction writers, Barrett makes it more than real.’ Kirkus Reviews