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The Drowning People

3.59  ·  Rating Details ·  1,199 Ratings  ·  151 Reviews
It is a cold afternoon in winter. An old man sits in a room high above the sea, watching the sun set. It is twenty-four hours since the death of his wife at Seton Castle, the home they had shared for more than forty years. And as it grows dark, he tries to make sense of a life only recently understood; and to explain how he, by no means a violent man, has come to kill in c ...more
ebook, 0 pages
Published November 16th 2008 by Vision (first published January 1st 1999)
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Jul 01, 2011 A.M. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, contemporary
Told from the point of view of the 70-year-old James Farrell, who has just recently murdered his wife, "Drowning People" tells the tragic, desperate tale of the chain of events which ultimately led him to murder.

In the style of Fyodor Dostoevsky's "A Gentle Creature", the story begins shortly after the wife's death, with James deciding to make sense of the situation by reviewing their history together.

But the comparison ends there, for where "A Gentle Creature" is short and punchy, "Drowning Peo
Dec 27, 2010 Bandit rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Yes, everyone said it and I agree, the opening sentences are riveting. Sadly, the novel doesn't live up to their promise. I knew how young the author was before I started the book and from that perspective I'm very impressed with his work, however I found the book to be too predictable and much too long for a predictable novel for my taste. I also felt that the Gothic feel of the book would have benefited from being set in a more appropriate decade, it's a bit distracting to be occasionally remi ...more
Jun 17, 2012 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book very much. Richard Mason's first novel was quite impressive. I was hooked from the first page. His characters jumped off the page, they seem so real to me. I also read The History of a Pleasure Seeker, which I also loved. I had the honor of meeting Richard Mason in April at Booktopia 2012 Vermont. I look forward to reading other novels by Mr. Mason.
"Anime alla Deriva" - Richard Mason(1999)

James Farrell, anziano violinista ormai in pensione uccide sua moglie, e non ne è pentito, perchè? Il perchè ce lo racconta nelle 350 pagine che ripercorrono tutta la sua vita, gli avvenimenti tragici e assurdi, le tristi coincidenze che hanno fatto di una vita innocente, un inganno perpetuo.
Un amore difficile per Ella, ricca rampolla londinese, egoista e insicura che richiederà a James una prova d'amore, e lui ignora nella sua inesperienza di ventenne,
Aug 24, 2016 Irene rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was not bad, it was pleasant even, however not the gripping thriller I took it for.

In short, the plot itself was interesting enough, albeit not surprising. The "twists" [all both of them I think] were rather predictale the mintute you read the ground laying of them. Yet it was interesting to go on. My issue were some chapters that were too long and too descriptive, with their biggest sin being their placement.
Just as you reached a very interesting part you got a quite boring chapter.

The pro
Mindy Conde
Feb 14, 2014 Mindy Conde rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general-fiction
This book had me from the very first page. The narrator is James Farrell, who when we begin the book, has just admitted to shooting his wife of over forty years in the head. He doesn't feel a stitch of remorse over it, in fact, he feels as though he has served a just punishment. Wow, ok. Way to draw a reader in. The rest of the novel is his retelling of his life and that of his true love, Ella, his dear friend, Eric, and the intertwining of all their lives with his now deceased wife, Sarah. Jame ...more
Oct 27, 2012 Julia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Everyone alive today will or has already felt the haunt of growing old. We’ll all tremble at the thought of regrets and maybe even fear the sweeping hand of death. When we approach the end we will all look back on our lives, pose ‘what if’s to ourselves and wonder what would, should, could have been. The aging James Farrell is no different from us. He knows his time is coming; His judgement day is dawning. He also knows that what has happened has happened and no amount of urging will make his yo ...more
Ubik 2.0
Oct 23, 2012 Ubik 2.0 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
La trama di "Anime alla deriva" può apparire più o meno interessante rispetto ad altri melodrammi simili, ma non è questo il suo punto di debolezza.

Il problema è invece che, per motivi anche imperscrutabili, il romanzo non riesce minimamente ad avvincere il lettore e questo per un melodramma è un guaio serio! I monologhi, i tormenti e le crisi interiori dei personaggi sembrano scritti da una mano furba ma sempre poco ispirata o poco partecipe, con fastidiose ripetizioni e colpi di scena prevedi
Jan 04, 2012 Melissa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow! I really loved this book, the writing was so "smart". The imagery the author created through detailed descriptions of feelings and thought allowed me to feel almost as a voyeur inside the mind of James Farrell. This story begins in the latter years of one man's life, immediately after killing his wife. This is not a spoiler to the story as it is on the book jacket and basically is the opening line of the whole journey. What the author (Richard Mason) then does is goes back to when James was ...more
Nov 24, 2009 Kat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ok, I thought I was on a roll, two 5 star books in a row. But this one doesn't quite merit 5 stars. Which is not to say that it isn't a rollicking good yarn, filled to bursting with melodrama, intrigue, young love, madness, egotism, etc. It has a fabulous opening line, where the author confesses to murdering his wife, and the following pages do not dissapoint much. I guess when we take into account that the author was 20 when the book was published, we can forgive him the overblown tone and the ...more
Lazarus P Badpenny Esq
Overhyped overheated overwrought eyewash.
Julia Samkova
Хороший сюжет для экранизации, просто прекрасный. Но сама книга могла бы быть"сделана" и получше, потому что слишком много растеканий мыслью по древу: когда герой возвращается к событиям прошлого, он так долго добирается до сути, что уже всем давно понятно, что там произошло, хотя он этого все еще не рассказал. Это как барахтаться в чьем-то омуте памяти. При этом повествование очень монологично, слишком. Хотя кто-то называет это невероятно тонким психологизмом и бла-бла-бла, но по факту получает ...more
Reilun kolmensadan sivun mittaansa pidemmän tuntuinen romaani. Alkaa ja jatkuu melko pitkään varsin vakuuttavana salaisuuksia sisältävänä tarinana, mutta muuttuu jossain vaiheessa melkoisen dramaattiseksi soossiksi, joka alkaa lähinnä ärsyttää ja laahata. Plussaa annan asetelmasta ja henkilöistä, jotka ovat niin kaukana ankeasta reaalimaailmasta, että ovat jo viihdyttäviä.
Oct 12, 2015 Morgan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, another-time
Title: The Drowning People:A fatal web these people weave.

The Setup (Overview):

James Farrell sits in the house that he shared with his wife for the last forty years. In the next room his wife lies dead, the gun she put to her head still in her hand. To anyone walking in it looks like a obvious case of suicide. In the coming days there will be questions of why. James will play the grieving husband tell the police and his family that he has no idea why his loving wife would take her life and that
Aug 20, 2012 Liz rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
I picked this book up at the $0.25 library sale. I had to read a bit of the cover just to know if it was a romance (which I avoid at all costs) novel, and this is what I read, 'My wife of 40 years shot herself yesterday afternoon, at last that is what the police assume.' Good enough for me!

I'm going to preface this little critique by stating that I have never written a book, nor do I believe myself to be successfully capable of doing so… however… within two pages, I realized two thing; it was wr
Oct 22, 2016 Nicole rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Meine Frau, mit der ich über fünfundvierzig Jahre verheiratet war, hat sich gestern Nachmittag erschossen. Das glaubt zumindest die Polizei, und ich spiele mit Begeisterung und mit Erfolg die Rolle des trauernden Witwers... Ich war es, der sie getötet hat."

Das sind die ersten Sätze dieses Buches. Ab dem nächsten Kapitel werden in Rückblenden, die vor etwa 50 Jahren beginnen, die Ereignisse geschildert, die zu dieser Tat führen. Die Familien- und Liebesgeschichte ist zwar dramatisch, spannend un
Giuseppe D
It might have been seriously better if it hadn't been so very predictable. The author keeps repeating the same things about how remembering gets him digressing on things that are not really important( could have said it just once, twice tops). The storyline is quite good and ghostly enough for it to be a "bad romance". The feelings of the characters are well depicted and I really liked that. In the end though I was waiting for some unexpected twist in the plot that never came. Too bad!

Se non fos
Christine Seifert
I bought this book after hearing the author interviewed by Nancy Pearl, my authority on all things book. I liked the plot and the setting, but the narrator's obsessive ruminations became tiresome. I'm sure that was the point. I felt like I was drowning in his endless thoughts, which, of course, is exactly how he felt. Ultimately, I'm glad I stuck with it, even though I wanted the narrator to periodically say, "Let me just give you the short version." That probably speaks more to my damaged atten ...more
Mar 21, 2009 Lisa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another example of a fine book which would have been so much better with fewer pages. Mason has a tendency to want to hold your hand and explain everything to the reader. I'm not spoiling anything my saying that the narrator has killed his wife so the entire book is spent explaining what led up to that event. However there is a big twist near the end that I did not see coming at all and I did enjoy the story.
May 07, 2014 Kay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Why would a man kill his wife after 45 years of happy marriage. Sarah had a secret which he unexpectedly discovered, but what she had done all of those years ago had changed his life forever. This is a book about love, family secrets, revenge, betrayal, and identity. Ultimately a sad story for all of the characters involved.
Jun 16, 2012 Elalma rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
La storia bella, anche se il finale prevedibile. E' un noir gotico che ricorda un po' i libri di McGraw. Ma poi secondo me si perde in elucubrazioni, e diventa un po' pesante, ossessivo; a tratti sa di feuilletton decadente. Ma quello che non gli perdono il filo di tutto il libro: che la natura umana ha bisogno di punizione per espiare le malefatte. Per l'ho letto in fretta e volentieri. ...more
Jun 10, 2010 Victoria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lit-fic
I enjoyed this book quite a bit. The characters were solidly drawn and the plot was quite interesting, if not altogether unpredictable. The structure of the novel was interesting, but left some loose ends since the audience of the narrator was never revealed. Still, it was entertaining and all the more impressive considering the youth of the author.
Nikki Golden
Aug 15, 2011 Nikki Golden rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I started reading this book, only to discover I had already read it. It was just as bad the second time around. The plot is intriguing, but the writing is so over the top melodramatic, and the two main characters are so droll that you don't care about them very much.
Oct 28, 2016 Gelisvb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read this book years ago and I remember loving it. I've read in itt in Italian and the Einaudi's transaltion was beautiful. I don't agree with the critic, this book was well written and well structured. Recommended for those who loved "The secret history"
Jan 17, 2017 Peter rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book is well written and holds the attention. It does have a predictable ending that most people will work out but is still a good read, though I lost some interest in the middle.
Apr 14, 2013 Claire rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is very hard to write a review for this book; mostly because, in hindsight, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I had hoped. This might have something to do with the hype that has been built up around it (and a review on the cover likening it to Rebecca, which set the bar quite high, as it is one of my favourites).

Initially, I found myself struggling through what I felt was quite forced dialogue and rather a contrived setting, resulting in segments of the book being somewhat unconvincing for me. Bu
Alright so just finished this lengthy verbose tale of a silly twenty something year old man, his life, his love and his foolishness and honestly dont know what to say about it..I have dubbed this a "smart girl" read as it involved frequent trips to my trusty thesaurus and grammar refresher, took way too many adjectives and supercilious prose to say what it really means and meandered aimlessly in all sorts of silly subplots, location and artistic descriptions, characterizations and run on sentenc ...more
Jun 29, 2014 Elisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Liczyłam na kryminał, a dostałam… romans. Wstyd przyznać, ale zaskakująco dobry!

Autor ma ciekawy styl – najpierw zdradza, co ważnego ma się wydarzyć, a dopiero później pozwala czytelnikowi dotrzeć (małymi kroczkami, a jakże) do tego miejsca w historii. Czasem miałam ochotę udusić autora za taką zabawę z czytelnikiem, ale wybaczam mu wszystko, bo czyta się naprawdę przyjemnie. To, co inni czytelnicy nazwali dłużyznami, ja odebrałam jako odtwarzanie z pamięci zamierzchłych zdarzeń. Macie tak czas
Sep 28, 2013 Mauricio rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorites -- literally has all the elements of what a good book should be (betrayal, jealousy, love triangle, coming of age, mystery, glamour) and he was only 21 when he wrote it!

It is narrated by James, a man in his 70s who has just killed his wife, Sarah. James then looks back on his life and the events leading as to why he just killed his wife of 45 years. In his youth, James fell in love with Ella Harcourt, a beautiful, glamorous girl with a dark family history. Ella's family, wit
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“My wife of more than forty-years shot herself yesterday afternoon.

At least that is what the police assume, and I am playing the part of grieving widower with enthusiasm and success. Life with Sarah has schooled me in self-deception, which I find--as she did--to be an excellent training in the deceiving of others. Of course I know that she did nothing of the kind. My wife was far too sane, far too rooted in the present to think of harming herself. In my opinion she never gave a thought to what she had done. She was incapable of guilt.

It was I who killed her.”
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