Book Review: The Weight of Water: A Novel by Anita Shreve

The Weight of Water: A Novel

by Anita Shreve

Oy. Where to begin?

I realized I was skimming pages, something I only do when I’m really bored with a story, so I checked what page I was on.

46. Forty-six!

How is it possible that it moves soooo slow that forty-six pages felt like a hundred?

Know what I don’t need?
– Adjectives in every single sentence.
– The same island described a million times.
– The regular reminder in every chapter that the husband is a poet and (surprise!) liked to drink.
– Reminders every two pages that she’s jealous.

Over and over and over again.

The book flashes between the present, a letter written in the 1800s and descriptions of events from the 1800s. The problem is that it goes something like this:

Women. Stuff from a long time ago. Fishing. Island descriptions. Blah blah blah.
Women. Boating. Island descriptions. Blah blah we’re in the present now blah blah so I hope you were paying attention.

There isn’t even so much as a space between the paragraphs to the let the reader know that Shreve is switching between past and present. The different timelines can easily work if they had been grouped together in larger sections. Instead, you get 2-4 paragraphs of current stuff then jump to 2 paragraphs of history, then back to the present and on and on and on. It feels disjointed and takes you completely out of the story.

Beyond the issue with how the story is told is the story itself. Romantic jealousies, distrust and assumptions that lead to tragedy. It could’ve been good but it failed. Badly. Don’t waste your time with this one.

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