Cool Water
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Cool Water

3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  1,487 ratings  ·  305 reviews
Juliet, Saskatchewan, is a blink-of-an-eye kind of town -- the welcome sign announces a population of 1,011 people -- and it’s easy to imagine that nothing happens on its hot and dusty streets. Situated on the edge of the Little Snake sand hills, Juliet and its inhabitants are caught in limbo between a century -- old promise of prosperity and whatever lies ahead.

But the he...more
Hardcover, 328 pages
Published March 1st 2010 by HarperCollins Canada (first published 2010)
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Governor General's Award Winners
29th out of 30 books — 24 voters
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13th out of 22 books — 2 voters


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Community Reviews

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Cynthia
Sand Dunes and Families

Juliet is a small town in Saskatchewan Canada. It’s a place like most others where people want the best for themselves and their loved ones, a place where the tough economy is a major concern but also where loving relationships are even more important. Most people are farmers or come from a farming background. Animals are important to them not only for companionship but also as work helpers. They’re tied to the land and its weather conditions. All the action takes place in...more
Alexander Inglis
A day in the life of Juliet, Saskatchewan. The lives of several families examined. Struggles, minor succeses, a death, an epiphany. Secrets kept, secrets unleashed. Love requited. Hopes renewed. A 100 year old horse race, 100 miles in length, rerun 100 years later. And thereby hangs a tail or two. And a tale or three.

I wondered if I read the same book the jurors of the GG prize read. They wrote: "The place is a small Saskatchewan town, the time spans barely more than a day. In this exquisitely c...more
Kate
So, I have a confession.

My confession is that I don't really like literature-y literature. Yes, I like Tolstoy, Austen, Bronte (Emily, not Charlotte), and bunch of other dead people whose work persists today. But often times, I find that I don't enjoy the modern books that are noted as literary by winning prizes or critical acclaim, (see: most of the books I read for book club). Thus, I'm always happy when a prize-winning, critically acclaimed book comes along that captures my attention. It help...more
Ruth Seeley
Masterful storytelling here. The town of Juliet, SK, comes alive over the course of 24 hours. Warren manages to introduce and flesh out dozens of characters without it seeming strained at all. She's also very funny - and yet the humour is never laboured, but seemingly effortless.
Jill
If you’re wondering whether Juliet in August is a book for you, ask yourself one question: are you a fan of character-based novels in which not a whole lot happens externally?

In my case, the answer is a resounding “yes.” I happen to love books that integrate a strong sense of place with authentic, sometimes quirky, sometimes poignant characters that could walk off the pages and take residence in your own area. So it’s no surprise that I reacted so positively to this debut book.

Juliet is not a ch...more
Pooker
Christmas booty!

Okay so what is it about books set in Saskatchewan? I am not a prairie girl. I was born on Lake of the Woods. Pine, granite, steep hills and fishy lake water are in my blood and they never fail to call me home when I read of them. Yet lately I've found a sort of second home in these Saskatchewan books.
In addition to this book, which I loved, I've also particularly enjoyed Dry by Barbara Sapergia; The Last Cowboy by Lee Gowan; and Beatrice by Monica Kidd. Although different books,...more
Louise
Okay, try as I might, I just couldn’t get into this book at all. I found it quite boring and lacking flow, the characters were boring and not very well developed, the story moved way too slowly and I just couldn’t force myself to finish it. So...in lieu of a review, I’ve left you with the synopsis from inside the front cover of the book. Perhaps someone else might find this novel fantastic, you just can’t please all of the people, all of the time.

“JULIET, Saskatchewan. You might imagine that not...more
Emilie
http://edwardsmagazinebookclub.com/20...

Published by HarperCollins 2010

It’s amazing how, when I mention Canadian literature, people’s eyes glaze over and their mouths are filled with angst and prairie dust and memories of having to read Who Has Seen the Wind in high school English classes. However, this book is a wonderful example of everything that Who Has Seen the Wind was not. The prairies surrounding the fictional town of Juliet are dry and hot and dusty, and not much seems to happen, but it...more
Siobhan Fallon
Dianne Warren’s evocative Juliet in August tells the story of Juliet, a small town set against the vastness of the West. Throughout the novel, the dunes that border Juliet are constantly shifting, uncovering bits of history lost to the sands. Warren handles her characters with the same archaeological precision, brushing away layer after layer, slowly revealing their inner turmoil as they move tentatively toward love and forgiveness. Juliet in August is an intricately beautiful novel full of the...more
Lori
Spoiler Alert!

A little taste of home is what this book brought for me. Coming from Swift Current, Saskatchewan, I remember visiting this area of the sand hills as a child. I loved this book. I was surprised how much I enjoyed it. Each time I went to read it, it was like getting your comfiest clothes on and a hot (or iced) tea, depending on the season and settling in to share time with an old friend. This book was beautifully written and flowed seamlessly through a single 24 hour period in Juliet...more
Aban (Aby)
I reserve a five star rating for books that will (I feel) be loved by readers across the world and will be equally appreciated by generations to come. I am not sure that "Cool Water" has quite this quality, though I might be wrong. Anyway, I loved the book though not on the first reading. I had to read it a second time in order to truly appreciate its quiet, understated beauty. I loved the structure of the book, its characters, language and its gentle humor.

"Cool Water" is really about an area -...more
Shirley Schwartz
This book is mesmerizing. At first glance it seems so simple, but as you get further in, you realize how complex these characters are. And yes, this book is about the characters. The time frame for the book is about 24 hours, and it takes place in a sleepy little town called Juliet which is smack dab in the middle of the Little Snake sandhills. This area is close to Swift Current, Saskatchewan, and it is where I was born and grew up. I loved the walk down memory lane with the area in southern Sa...more
Janet Berkman
Cool Water is a novel, but with a lyrical structure of intertwined short stories. Set in a small Saskatchewan town, it follows the lives of individuals and families over the period of a few days. As in a small town where everyone knows everyone's business, these stories intersect. The reader is able to look down on the town and watch as the stories overlap and interconnect. We read of a mother struggling to cope with her children as the family farm is in the process of being repossessed; the ban...more
Lydia Presley
Juliet in August is one of the most understated, beautifully written books I've read in 2012. Dianne Warren has created a book that, with the subtlety and grace of a racing horse, has completely taken over my imagination and whisked me away to a little town in Canada named Juliet.

Juliet in August begins with a horse race - a story which is the foundation of the short tales that follow it. In a way, this book is a mixture of a bunch of short stories, strung together in such a pitch-perfect way th...more
Tami
Loved this story and did not want it to end. It's slow paced but after you get to know these characters,that ends up being a good thing - a very good thing. The ending was quite satisfying. No loose pieces. I consider this book the perfect weekend read. (I'm so glad I didn't have laundry to do the past couple days.)
Mls3
Loved, loved, loved this book. It's the best book I've read all summer. It is beautifully written and the stories have a universal quality, yet clearly evoke the unique landscape where they take place. I will be reading more from Dianne Warren. I can't wait...
Jaylia3
After racing through several action packed, the-world-is-in-danger, paranormal adventure quests it was a pure pleasure read this character rich novel just right for thoughtful savoring. Author Dianne Warren proves the truth of Jane Austen’s writing advice to her niece that three or four families in a country village is the very thing to work on. Juliet in August takes place during one extended summer day in a small Saskatchewan town surrounded by sandy desert hills. Though nothing earthshaking h...more
Annie Michelle
A sparse and beautifully written slice of life in the small town of Juliet, Saskatchewan.
Everyday overlapping and intertwining stories of people quietly living their lives.
We get to know the people of Juliet first through a bored horse who escapes his trailer and arrives at a farm where the new owner has been contemplating the farm left to him by his adoptive parents now deceased wondering what to do with his life. Seeing the beautiful Arab horse appear in the moonlight he hops on and takes a 1...more
K
Come start an August day with the inhabitants of the small Canadian prairie community of Juliet and follow them as they go about an ordinary day of work, love and hope in the sand dunes and grasslands of Saskatchewan.

Lee owns a ranch that he inherited from Lester and Astrid, his adoptive parents. With his dog Cracker he tries to run the Torgeson farm the same way it had been for many years but it is a lonely and sad life for the young man. That is until a lost Arabian horse wanders onto his far...more
Samantha
I really didn't care for this book... I think it would have been better had each story been a short story - self contained, rather than hopping back and forth between characters and storylines. I get it, though... they all tie in... But I didn't have any affection for any of the characters, except, perhaps Astrid... I was not concerned with how any of it would end... I really don't know how it won the Governor General's Award... There's plenty of good Canadian Lit out there, but this was just an...more
Bonnie Brody
Dianne Warren has written a beautiful book that waves its words like the wheat stalks in Saskatchewan. The story is about a town named Juliet, a small town where everyone knows everyone else. Blink on the road while you're driving and it won't be there anymore.

The novel is about the people in Juliet, how their lives unfold, interconnect, and turn out. There are those people who are successful but troubled, those that are doing everything they can to just hold on in these rough economic times and...more
Brian
I started out reading this as a Winesburg, Ohio-Grapes of Wrath blend. The short, two-dimensional sketches of rural residents of a fictional town had me thinking of Sherwood Anderson's attempt to create unvarnished portraits that evoked a shock of recognition on every page. At the same time Warren seemed intent on imbuing the residents of Juliet with a dusty desperation and poverty, both material and spiritual, not unlike the dusty Depression on which Steinbeck's Joads choked.

As I continued, how...more
Eric Wright
In many ways this is a charming story about a small town in Saskatchewan on the edge of the Little Snake Sand Hills. The characters are quirky and interesting although quite ordinary--the kind of characters you'd probably find in many locations. The book is character driven but there is a problem--too many characters with hard to recognize interwoven stories all of which the author breaks up into segments, not chapters, in rather long sections. The scheme doesn't work for me. I'm just getting to...more
Alexis
Jul 29, 2011 Alexis rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2011
I started reading this about a year ago, and was turned off by the prologue. I thought it was going to be a historical book, and I wasn't in the mood for it. Instead, it's a modern day book that sketches the lives of residents living in a small town in southern Saskatchewan. The events all take place in one day, and Warren examines the lives of many people who live in the town. She's great at evoking the feel of small town life, the geography of Saskatchewan and the fictional town. The real joy...more
Ngu Lorna
This could be a five but I rarely give fives. I loved this book. Well written, believable characters, local references all made sense. Read this book everyone.
Carol E.
I love this book! It is a simple story about a small town, Juliet,Saskatchewan over the course of one night and one day in August. The characters are so loveable. They have the regular human foibles that we all possess... not understanding each other, feeling hurt that we are misunderstood, falling in and out of love, wondering where our lives are leading, what might have been, and working through our hum drum days as well as the exciting ones.

It's a very readable, human story. Since I finished...more
Thebooktrail
Setting – Juliet, Saskatchewan – may be fictional yet a character study of the people and the setting of a small prairie town in Western Canada. see the locations here - link: Locations of Cool Water

Set amongst the sand hills in Saskatchewan yes that’s right -there is like a mini desert right in the middle of what assume to be a cold country. Well, I was as shocked as the next person – particularly as I had just passed through a place called Moose Jaw. Oh and after the sand hills, we passed thro...more
Elvan
Ugh. Foiled by a pretty cover and an Audie finalist sticker on the case. Little did I know that Juliet in August is the re released title of a book I own called Cool Water. I bought it because it won the 2010 Governor General's award for literary fiction. I couldn't get past the first hundred pages that time either.

This book has received rave reviews but maybe I am just not a fan of ranch stories or horses. Or maybe I am reaching my literary overload point. On to something else. Without horses.
Lori Bamber
Alice Munro meets Wallace Stegner? Sort of. But there is something very western Canadian about this book, too -- very prairie. In the small town of Warren's imagination, there are no meaningless encounters and no unexamined questions that might not surface. I think Dianne Warren's name is now on the list of great Canadian novelists.
John
I really enjoyed this book. It follows the lives of a number of small town Saskatchewan people over a couple of days. Nothing earth shattering happens, just ordinary lives. Yet I am drawn to this kind of book, just plain folks.

I don't know what books it was up against for the GG award. It is a quick, easy read and nicely written.
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ELEVEN READERS CL...: Western Canada 1 13 Jan 17, 2012 11:09PM  
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Dianne Warren grew up in Saskatchewan and attended the University of Regina where, although she did some coursework with writers such as Joan Givner and Ken Mitchell, she graduated in 1976 with a BFA in Visual Arts. She then spent three years in rural northeastern Saskatchewan and in 1979 returned to Regina, where she lives with her husband, visual artist Bruce Anderson, and their two sons.
More about Dianne Warren...
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