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We Are Water

3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  30,041 ratings  ·  4,223 reviews
In middle age, Annie Oh—wife, mother, and outsider artist—has shaken her family to its core. After twenty-seven years of marriage and three children, Annie has fallen in love with Viveca, the wealthy, cultured, confident Manhattan art dealer who orchestrated her professional success.

Annie and Viveca plan to wed in the Oh family's hometown of Three Rivers, Connecticut, wher
...more
ebook, 550 pages
Published October 22nd 2013 by HarperCollins (first published 2013)
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Janice Kingsbury I almost gave up on the book also. I loved "She's Come Undone" and "I know this much is True", but his writing style is different in "We are Water." I…moreI almost gave up on the book also. I loved "She's Come Undone" and "I know this much is True", but his writing style is different in "We are Water." I read a little at a time, but I'm glad I stuck with it. As I came to know the characters about half-way through the book, I became enchanted and couldn't put the book down. The background development may have been a little overdone, but it was worth it.(less)
Trudie Yes, you probably missed something by skimming through, although it was also mentioned later in the book I think. Kent doesn't have the same…moreYes, you probably missed something by skimming through, although it was also mentioned later in the book I think. Kent doesn't have the same perspective about the things he did to Annie than Annie. I think it was in the end when he even tells Andrew that she liked it too. He thought of it as something that happened a long time ago and he's just very ignorant about the effect of his behavior on Annie or any other girl he molested. I got the idea he wanted to visit her because she was the only one left of his family and he was curious about her now that she was a famous artist.(less)
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil GaimanThe Golem and the Jinni by Helene WeckerLife After Life by Kate AtkinsonA Tale for the Time Being by Ruth OzekiThe Man Who Watched The World End by Chris Dietzel
Interesting Books of 2013
48th out of 314 books — 921 voters
The Rosie Project by Graeme SimsionThe Goldfinch by Donna TarttThe Lowland by Jhumpa LahiriWe Are Water by Wally LambThe Tilted World by Tom Franklin
OCTOBER 2013 LIBRARY READS
4th out of 11 books — 100 voters


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Community Reviews

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Kimberly Smith
I am struggling writing this review. In the past I have LOVED Wally Lamb's books so much, that I was just so excited to hear that he had a new book coming out.

Then, reading the dust jacket, the hairs on my arms stood up. The book would be about a woman after 27 years of marriage, who leaves her family to marry her art dealer, a woman. I was so excited to read THAT story and about her family adjusting to their mother coming out as a lesbian in her 50's??? Knowing Wally Lamb and the way he writes
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Denise
I practically celebrate every time Wally Lamb publishes a new novel. I love his work so much, and he only improves with age. Nobody can take a basic story and so circuitously and beautifully lead the reader to a satisfactory conclusion as Lamb does. Few writers put human behavior and feelings into words as sensitively (and sometimes humorously) as Lamb. Few writers can address divorce, sexual abuse, incest, child abuse, gay marriage and religion all in one book and make it work. And few writers ...more
Barb
I loved Wally Lamb's 'I Know This Much Is True', it's one of my all-time favorite books. So, it's hard for Lamb to compete with my love for that book. 'We Are Water' is similar to IKTMIT in that it's very easy to read. The characters are likeable and their stories are interesting enough that you want to find out what happens to them. There would certainly be a lot to discuss if you were going to choose this as a book club book. Honestly, this might be one of those books that you like more after ...more
Beverly
I almost liked this book. I believe that sincere effort to do good went into its making. But basically this amounts to a psychiatric case study of childhood trauma and how it affects later life. It seems to be dripping with archetypal symbols as well: sharks, Greek myth, the ocean, absent fathers,twins, and more. Ostensibly the story of an artist who leaves her husband for another woman, Anna Oh does not emerge as the hero or even protagonist of this story. I think her lesbianism is a hook; Anna ...more
Ron Charles
Gay Americans have been waiting a long time for the right to marry. But we all wait a long time in Wally Lamb’s dilatory new novel about a lesbian wedding. Before anybody is allowed to say, “I do,” in “We Are Water,” a whole family of injured people must walk down the aisle muttering their sorrows.

Emotional and physical wounds have long been Lamb’s territory, explored in the Oprah-blessed blockbusters “She’s Come Undone” and “I Know This Much Is True” and his wrenching novel about the Columbine
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Natalie
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Well. I guess I can't put this review off any longer.

First things first.
I love Wally Lamb.
That's right - LOVE HIM.
You know when that really exciting moment comes when a friend who for some ungodly pathetically stupid reason doesn't really read ever asks you for recommendations? And then you can barely contain yourself and rattle off about ten titles in two seconds and get this from them?:

description

And then you're all like:
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Well, anyway...when these wonderful gem moments come along, I always say these t
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Judi/Judith Riddle
She's Come Undone, I Know This Much Is True and The Hour I First Believed were wonderful masterpieces written by Wally Lamb. I wonder who really wrote his latest book! Surely not the Wally Lamb whose writing I love. I, along with many others, waited so long for him to write another book and I was so disappointed in this one. It rambled all over the place and was just words on many pages saying nothing. The themes and subplots were tedious. The shallow self-absorbed characters who constantly spil ...more
Mike
I knew I didn't love Wally Lamb's newest book not long after I started it. A hundred pages in and I wasn't even sure if I liked it. Two hundred pages in and I wasn't sure if I would even finish it. Well, like a marathon runner, I managed to break through the wall at the 17-mile mark and race to the finish of this one. By the end I liked it enough. It just lacked the magic of Lamb's first two novels, which I absolutely loved. Maybe I'm downgrading it only in comparison to those two, though I have ...more
Jen
Wally Lamb - you are the master when it comes to storytelling. You manage to gift wrap issues of child abuse, assault, incest, religion, homosexuality, art, biracial relationships into a neat and compact story. I have to admit, a quarter way through I wasn't sure you'd be able to pull it off. This narrative pivots around the wedding of Annie Oh, who leaves her marriage of 27 years to marry another woman. The leading up to that day is done through the perspectives of herself, her ex-husband, her ...more
Misty
Wally Lamb pulls your emotions in so many ways and he continues that with his latest book, “We are Water.” Characters you feel you should hate become more than just black and white; all of a sudden they are tinged with gray. You can’t seem to tell who the bad guys and the good guys are in this story.

Ultimately this book tells the tale of outsiders; that society considers to be different from the “norm.” It tells the story of Annie and Orion Oh through their own tales, those of their family and t
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Dawn
"How in the world are we water?" was my first thought when I picked up this book. Other than our bodies being mostly composed of water, Orion discusses with his son, Andrew, how people are like water in that they can be fluid and flexible when needed, or they can be strong and destructive, too. I didn't really expect to dive into this book but that's exactly what happened: I stuck a toe in and found the water so inviting, I backed up, took a long, free run, and dove in. And the water, and the st ...more
Sam
Like so many people "She's Come Undone" was the first book that truly spoke to me. I was probably 15 or 16 the first time I read it, over a decade later and having reread it countless times it's still as powerful as ever. Then "I Know This Much is True" came along and added to my deep undying love of Wally Lamb's work. "The Hour I First Believed" I only managed to read once because it was so well written, so powerfully realistic that it gave me nightmares. When I came across an advance readers c ...more
Kara
I had never read Wally Lamb's work before I received We Are Water in a Goodreads Giveaway. Talk about a prize! I just finished the book, and I recommend it with great enthusiasm to readers generally with one caveat. Namely, I would warn readers to maintain an emotional release valve when engaging with as intense a novel as this one. This book is a pretty massive tome, even at 576 pages, and sometimes it feels longer. The reader is completely immersed in the characters' respective psyches -- char ...more
Deborah
This is a very difficult review for me to write. I've thought about it for a couple of days now and wondered if I'd get it down right for you. I've been an avid fan of Wally Lamb's for many, many years and had such excitement when I learned he had a new book out. I rushed to get a copy. I'm sad to say this one was a disappointment to me in some major ways, although I did grasp the over all story and could appreciate what Mr. Lamb's intention was in telling it. (See Summary above)



This is first of
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Gail Strickland
I don't want to talk about it. Let's just say "Chinese Water Torture" and leave it at that, shall we?
Sandie
Wally Lamb's latest offering "WE ARE WATER" has more in common with his last novel "THE HOUR I FIRST BELIEVED" than with his earlier works, which I loved. With WE ARE WATER Lamb has once again used the shotgun approach to his subject matter, firing at a wide range of topics and hoping something would hit the target. This narrative is one that explores everything from homosexuality, sexual predators, failed relationships, gay marriage and the childhood traumas that we carry forward into our adult ...more
Alison
An intense novel!

Annie Oh is a woman who discovered her art later in life, in middle age after her children were born and raised. It gave her an outlet for her emotions, but it also ruined her marriage. Known to many as a quiet, meek woman, her art exhibited a surprisingly angry, manic energy. Where did her anger come from? After 27 years together, and three children, Annie told her husband, Orion, a psychologist, their marriage was over and she was marrying her art dealer, a wealthy, sophistica
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Leah
I don't want to be "that person" but I read "She's come undone" before it was on Oprah's book club and it was a firm favourite of mine from the get go. I also loved "I know this much is true" and "The hour I first believed". Lamb's novels were some of the very few saved in the great post-kindle physical book purge. So I was excited about this book. It was an enjoyable enough read. Maybe I have come to expect too much but I almost felt like this was an attempt by someone else to write a Wally Lam ...more
Booksintheburbs
I’m a newbie reader of the wonderful works of Wally Lamb. Having read, “She’s Come Undone”, I knew I wanted to read Lamb’s latest book. It is a large book, a little over 570 pages, but every page is needed and helps bring closure to one incredible saga!


I loved how each chapter was told through a different perspective and gave the reader an opportunity to know how certain situations impacted each person involved. The synopsis had me from the word, “go”, because I have always been curious about th
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Joyce
What a gorgeous book--and after reading reviews and comments, I think it's perhaps better on audio than print. Great readers--Guidall, Ballerini, Ferrone, Gilbert, Read, and the author himself--read separate sections and become that character, that voice, interpreting other characters and events and adding layers to the story. Organized as it is with sections told be each of the major characters (and their stories intertwine as the characters reappear and reveal more), this is an elegantly writt ...more
B the BookAddict
Apr 07, 2015 B the BookAddict rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: probably everyone
Recommended to B the BookAddict by: moi
Full of empathy and pathos, this novel encompasses memorable characters, their very vivid experiences and endeavours overcoming abuse, loss and anguish. It would seem that in We Are Water, there is a bit of everything: divorce, child abuse, homophobia, racism, art, paedophilia, psychology, lesbianism, religion, gay marriage and alcohol abuse. A big ask for an author to successfully weave all these issues into one novel but Lamb does this mostly successfully in his usual Wally Lamb manner.

The st
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Michelle
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ashley Mackler-Paternostro
Wally Lamb is an incubator. Every five years, or every ten years, and only occasionally at other points in time, does this talented author bless our bookshelves with a new novel. When they arrive, they are gifts. His books, as they always are, are journeys into the human soul and not simply novels. They follow the arc of lives, allow the characters to seep in secrets, touch upon sensitive topics, unfold slowly over the course of hundreds of pages and leave the reader not only drawn into world wh ...more
Alice  Heiserman
Wally Lamb must have received nudging from his agent to turn out another book. This one was not as soulful as his others. Perhaps his topic, a poor woman who becomes rich was not his forte as are downtrodden and jailed people. The protagonist was the victim of childhood sexual abuse and this has permeated every aspect of her life and influenced how she related to her husband and her children. It also impacted her life as an artist. The pedophile who damaged her, her cousin who babysat her, was a ...more
Rick
I just love Wally Lamb! In everything I've read from him, he has such a gorgeous knack for creating real, flawed characters that we can fall in love with (or at least understand, even the worst of them). We Are Water is no exception. It's a beautiful, heart-rending look into what makes a family, what makes art, what makes us human. You'll laugh. You'll cry. You'll read the final pages slowly because you don't want it to end....
Tamsen
It hurts to give Wally Lamb a two-star review.

It also kind of hurts to know that I can't really rave about him now - not with this last Lamb novel I've read hanging over me. I think I have to go read I Know This Much is True just to refresh the palate.

Jeez, Wally. What were you thinking?

I can't say this didn't have its good moments (this IS Wally Lamb after all) - I especially liked the early chapters from Annie and Orion, as they were reliving their dating days. I'm thinking for others, but a
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Jennifer Conover
May 13, 2013 Jennifer Conover marked it as to-read
I cannot wait for this book to come out! Wally Lamb is one of my absolute favorite authors!!!!
thewanderingjew
Regardless of whether or not the reader likes the story or the subject matter of this book, from the first page to the last, the reader will appreciate Lamb’s way with words. It is remarkably easy to read, and the tale unfolds seamlessly as each character is brought to life and ultimately reconciled with the extraordinary conflicts placed before them. Each chapter features a particular character's point of view and thoughts and is, thus, sometimes repetitive as the characters interact. It will n ...more
Tonya
In middle age, Annie Oh—wife, mother, and outsider artist—has shaken her family to its core. After twenty-seven years of marriage and three children, Annie has fallen in love with Viveca, the wealthy, cultured, confident Manhattan art dealer who orchestrated her professional success.

Annie and Viveca plan to wed in the Oh family's hometown of Three Rivers, Connecticut, where gay marriage has recently been legalized. But the impending wedding provokes some very mixed reactions and opens a Pandora'
...more
Cathrine
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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2015 Reading Chal...: We Are Water by Wally Lamb 1 19 Jan 03, 2015 05:54PM  
GLBT + 1x1 Roleplays: Wish: A girl who will be happy and Jordan 43 25 Jul 03, 2014 01:20PM  
Joyce's Reading Log: We Are Water by Wally Lamb 1 19 May 17, 2014 01:58PM  
The end? 3 130 Apr 05, 2014 04:20PM  
What connection does Josephus Jones have to the Oh family? 8 120 Jan 29, 2014 06:28PM  
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Wally Lamb is the author of She's Come Undone, The Hour I First Believed, and I Know This Much Is True. Two were featured as selections of Oprah's Book Club. Lamb is the recipient of the Connecticut Center for the Book's Lifetime Achievement Award, the Connecticut Bar Association's Distinguished Public Service Award, the Connecticut Governor's Art Award, the Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers ...more
More about Wally Lamb...
I Know This Much Is True She's Come Undone The Hour I First Believed Wishin' and Hopin' Couldn't Keep it to Myself:  Wally Lamb and the Women of York Correctional Institution

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“We are like water, aren’t we? We can be fluid, flexible when we have to be. But strong and destructive, too.” And something else, I think to myself. Like water, we mostly follow the path of least resistance.” 27 likes
“Maybe that's what love is. Having someone who guides you through different experiences, coaxes you to try news things but still makes you feel safe.” 10 likes
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