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Flat Water Tuesday

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  1,380 ratings  ·  237 reviews
When documentary filmmaker Rob Carrey flies back to New York from a shoot in South Africa to salvage his relationship with his lover Caroline Smythe, he unexpectedly finds himself called back to his former boarding school following a heartbreaking tragedy. Despite having long ago buried the memories of the brutal year he spent at the elite Fenton School in Connecticut as a ...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published June 4th 2013 by Thomas Dunne Books (first published May 27th 2013)
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Average rating 3.61  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,380 ratings  ·  237 reviews

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Diane S ☔
Jun 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: roadrallyteamb
I have just added this book to books that have made a big impression on me. Rob Carrey, from a small town and with parents who want him to do better in life than they had, accepts a scholarship to crew on the God Four, even though this means repeating his senior year of high school. Have never much thought about crewing, know very little about it, but after this book I know quite a bit. As with most sports it takes commitment and much hard work to really be good, so Rob with his three fellow tea ...more
Jonathan Wolcott
Jun 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
You Can Graduate Any Time You Like, But You Can Never Leave

Like its ancestors (A Separate Peace, This Side of Paradise, The Final Club, Art of Fielding), Flat Water Tuesday is the story of an outsider, Rob Carrey, entering an elite academic institution (Kent School in CT, thinly veiled in the novel as the Fenton School), who simultaneously struggles with, reviles, admires and exposes its various trappings. But FWT departs from its literary forebearers in a crucial way - it gives the reader a ful
Nancy McKibben
Jul 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: readers who like Ivy League setting/characters; who like Donna Tartt; who like literary fiction
Shelves: favorites, reviewed
Flat Water Tuesday
By Ron Irwin

Flat Water Tuesday is a gorgeous book. Ostensibly about the senior year of a rowing team known as the God Four (only God can beat them), the novel is also an examination of teamwork, competition, pain, love and the weight of familial expectations in prose as smooth as the water the team sculls over.

A fifth year scholarship student, Rob Carrey, attends an exclusive Connecticut prep school with the single goal of rowing well enough to attract the attention of an Ivy L
Jun 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Ron Irwin turns out to be quite the story teller and I will be first in line if he writes something else. Here we have two time periods, one 15 years prior to the other about a crew of prep school rowers known as the God Four preparing for the big race, and then one of them recalling that time as he anticipates a school reunion while also going through an emotional time with his girlfriend.

This book is packed with emotions, about how emotional highs and lows can affect us at different times of
Feb 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I received this book in a goodreads first reads giveaway.

I didn't really know anything about rowing going into this novel, and I didn't need to; the writing is vivid/clear enough to understand what's going on, you get used to the more technical terms, etc. It's about a group of high school students essentially training for one very important race, and I can see how those with a background in rowing might get more out of this novel than I did, but ultimately this is a very human story that anyone
Aug 01, 2013 rated it it was ok
The author clearly knows the sport of rowing from many levels. There is plenty here for the rowing devotee, with overly detailed descriptions of challenges on the water. Fans of the sport of rowing will certainly not be let down as they follow the crew in their efforts of training for the race of their lives, though non-rowers might miss some of the finer minute details found within some of the more than detailed technical passages.

The book opens well, with Rob receiving a long, rambling letter
Cheryl Bradley
May 08, 2013 rated it liked it
This book focuses around a rowing group at Fenton Prep school. Upon invitation to his 15th year anniversary, the protagonist, Rob Carrey, has flashbacks between his current life and his rowing days, where something went quite wrong. Carrey is a scholarship kid, a scull rower and is used to rowing alone and not in a team environment. Parts of this book were beautifully written, but some of the scenes dragged. I especially felt Ruth, Conner, and the last person of the God Four team is so flatly de ...more
fast read novel of 'poor' outsider kid going to a prep school for his rowing prowess and the coming together of the team there, and its eventual dissolution. novel runs with a simultaneous story of 'poor boy' later in life and his work trying to build a relationship while also pushing it away. lots of detail on scull and crew and rowing, some prep school details, but mainly about choices we make and their impacts and the impacts others have on us, if we let them.
author lives and works in cape t
Lena Cox
Sep 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: debut-novels
Successful relationships and winning teams mimic each other. They require trust. They require empathy. They, at times, require the surrendering of the self to better the union.

Flat Water Tuesday by Ron Irwin parallels relationships and teams in the telling of Rob Carrey’s teenage and adult life. The novel opens with a present-day letter sent to Rob from John Perry, one of his high school crew mates. The letter hints at events that occurred while Rob and John rowed in Fenton School’s elite rowing
Dec 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
J.M. Coetzee has a recommendation on the cover, so of course I picked this up. The story is so compelling, it flips back and forth between prep school rowers and present-day, they reunite under tragic circumstance. Great if you liked A Separate Piece, a good coming-of-age read.
May 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Rob Carrey is a young man with a chip on his shoulder against authority, but an amazing athlete. He is unpolished, a loner, who attends a high-brow boarding school and learns to work as part of a team on the school’s rowing team. The journey to his maturity is fraught with angst, rivalry and full of equally damaged teammates who all feel the pressure of being expected to be number one. The rich kid has issues, the lone girl on the team has issues, each member has their own personal demon that dr ...more
Shelly Johnson
Feb 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I received the audio version thru a GoodReads FirstReads giveaway.

If you are into audio books, this is a MUST! Wonderful story, wonderful writing and FANTASTIC narration!! Even if you have never thought of rowing, or even care for rowing, I still this is is so much more in this book. The struggles they face as a team, and individually are very intense. You feel the struggle and the tension and fear dealing with "the big secret". I found myself wanting to listen more and more to learn the horrib
Jul 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Ron Irwin's new book about a rowing team at a high school prep academy in New England and their life experiences beyond is a thoughtful portrayal of five kids and their coach who are all carrying baggage from their earlier lives. It is also a book about the "big race" which ultimately happens and has a different effect on their lives than they had thought. I think this book could be adapted nicely into a movie and we will see what happens on that in the future. My only slight complaint was that ...more
May 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
This novel was very interesting with the theme of sculling and rowing and the competitive nature of this sport. I never realized the amount of strategy and skill involved. I enjoyed the characters and the past and present of the main character, Rob Carrey. The author's writing style of leaving you in a suspenseful state at the end of a section or chapter and switching the story to the past life or present situation made for a page turner. I highly recommend this novel! ...more
Betsy Mitchell
Mar 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Page-turner with wonderful, clear descriptions. I came to care for the characters and revel in their victories. The story moves along like a wind rippling on the calm water and draws you into its curving path. The rowing element is very tangible and the conflicts within the sport create a tale that is both memorable and haunting.
Jeff Swartz
Mar 25, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Don't know anything about rowing, didn't think I wanted to know anything about rowing, but this book was terrific and I especially liked all the rowing stuff!
A coming of age story that will fit neatly on the shelf with all the greats.
I can see this being assigned in High Schools for years to come.
Jun 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
To quote myself, from a Boston Globe review: This book is much better written that it needs to be. Unexpectedly excellent ... a friend of mine didn't like this, I think she found it too classist. I didn't, thought it was grand. ...more
Apr 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Exceptional sport/coming of age novel I'm very pleased is now in feature film development under the title The God Four. ...more
Aug 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: shelf-2
Best book of summer reading 2013! Similar to A Separate Piece but even better.
Jack Casey
Jul 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Rob Carrey (Ron Irwin's first-person narrator) shares his insecurity at "measuring up" in a New England boarding school. From blue collar roots, Carrey by turns admires and envies the privileged kids whose parents are hardly in their lives. The rowing team is where he will excel and prove himself with a Harvard scholarship in his sights.

The novel begins when a grown Carrey receives a disturbing letter from a former teammate as their fifteenth reunion looms. Carrey now makes documentary films for
Jan 13, 2018 rated it liked it
This is a pretty typical story and one that's been done before: Think "Dead Poets Society meets The Emperor's Club meets Good Will Hunting on Water."
Talented working class kid comes to an elite program and has to overcome his own stubbornness and resistance to "The System".
There's an ultra-talented, ultra-rich team-mate who he butts heads with.
Tough but brilliant Coach.
Goofy side-kick.
There's a love interest.
Sweet remembrance of youth.

This book has it all.

This is what I'd call a
Mar 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

A very well-written story about a guy who gets recruited from high school to join a very exclusive school as a "post matric" and member of their rowing squad. The book jumps between then and current - which 15 years later when his relationship is falling apart and he's just been invited back to a high school reunion. Slowly the author leads us through the events of that year - and those that happened thereafter - culminating in the weekend of the reunion itself.

Besides the writing, I al
Oct 16, 2020 rated it it was ok
Reading this book was like a mashup of the Dead Poets Society and my own experiences at a private high school. While our school wasn't quite as blue-blooded as Fenton, it still reeked of the same class prejudices, the same overbearing rich parents and financial pageantry, and misdeeds of the young students. I didn't get far enough into this novel to even discern which tragic events bound these kids together because the upper-crust attitude and fervent use of the thesaurus bored me. Been there, r ...more
Oct 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a debut novel for Ron Irwin and an excellent one. The story is about Rob Carrey starting with the year he spent at the elite Fenton high school and his experience on the rowing team. A reunion call the rowers back to the high school and to the memory of a tragic accident which Rob had managed to bury until then.

The novel carries the reader back and forth between current day and the life at Fenton. A well written book.
Nov 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
I got this as an audio book and since I'm sick day around listening for hours. I didn't expect much from this. I picked it just because it had a day of the week in the title and was available through my library app and so it for my needs for the Pop Sugar reading challenge category.
I actually really enjoyed it though. I knew what was going to happen before it did. The big tragedy wasn't hard to figure out early on but it didn't ruin anything knowing that.
Jennifer Larson
Jul 30, 2019 rated it liked it
I feel that I enjoyed this book more than my star rating really indicates. Weirdly, I like books about rowing, despite a total lack of personal experience with the sport. I wasn't sure I was going to stick with the book at first, but it finally drew me in. I really like the narrator, and that helps. ...more
Oct 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
The setting reminded me of where I spent my first 2 years in college- a small college town in New London, N. H. It brought back memories of meeting people with so many backgrounds.
A very touching love story intermingled with doubts about a childhood past and uncertainties of an upcoming race on the water and a tragedy among the crew .members. I was held in a wondering mode throughout the book.
Jun 06, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An enjoyable book that floats between the present and the past, focusing mainly on the current derailing of a relationship and the year spent in preparation of the biggest and most influential race of a young man's life.

Full review:
Sep 20, 2017 rated it liked it
I got this audiobook as an ARC at ALA in 2013 and listened to a disc or two before lending it to my friend. I could check a copy out at the library, but I don't remember being particularly thrilled with the plot as it was. This is a DNF. ...more
Laura Elle
Nov 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book was way better than I thought it would be. The rowing parts were somewhat boring, but the rest of the story was gripping and beautiful. The way past and present met was absolutely incredible. I am glad I read this book, this is a great easy read!!
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Goodreads Librari...: Pls Add an Audiobook to My profile 6 18 Mar 05, 2013 05:04AM  

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Ron Irwin is an American writer who divides his time between Cape Town, South Africa and various places in the United States. He grew up in Buffalo, New York, where he learned to row. He attended boarding school and college in New England, where he was part of a number of winning crews. Ron has worked as a journalist, a documentary filmmaker, and as a teacher. He currently lectures in the Centre f ...more

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