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The Light on the Water
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The Light on the Water

3.46  ·  Rating details ·  467 Ratings  ·  73 Reviews
Recently divorced and trying to make sense of her new life, Anne takes her daughter Aida on an overnight bushwalk in the moody wilderness of Wilsons Promontory. In a split second, Aida disappears and a frantic Anne scrambles for help. Some of the emergency trackers who search for Aida already doubt Anne's story.

Nearly two years later and still tormented by remorse and grie
...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published March 1st 2016 by Allen & Unwin
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Michael
Jan 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ozzie-gems
Once Anne Baxter had it all. Married to a successful lawyer and with two beautiful daughters life is seemingly zen. Her youngest, Aida is a handful thanks to being diagnosed with Autism, but despite the difficulties Anne loves her unconditionally. Three year later though her world has gone full circle after first divorcing Robert and then after he re-marries, suffers the worst pain ever when after going on an overnight bushwalk, Aida disappears without a trace.

Since Aida has gone missing, Anne h
...more
RitaSkeeter
Jan 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016, contemporary
A quiet, understated, thoughtful novel.

I was drawn to the book by the cover; I kept reading because of the beautiful, empathic writing.
Carol -  Reading Writing and Riesling
Feb 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
An intense and evocative read..sometimes it is almost too painful.

My View:
Evocative, intense, emotional and at times painful to read. This novel pierces the heart; brilliant.

At first I could hardly bear to continue reading, the pain that Anne feels and the pressure she faces is almost too much to bear. These are powerful pages, tension is high, my empathy freely given. Anne’s story is just so so sad. We can feel her love for her children and the pressure that mothers face when in the public eye,
...more
Emilie Morscheck
Feb 15, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: giveaways
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Anna
Jun 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
I found this book to be a compelling, worthwhile read. The writing beautifully captures Anne's sense of loss and the limbo she finds herself in while waiting for developments in her case.

With the story told entirely from Anne's perspective, it was essential that she was a believable character, and I thought she was particularly well-drawn. As the book progresses, more layers of her past history are revealed, providing a clearer basis for her decisions and motivations. The other characters are a
...more
Kathryn
I won this book through a FirstReads giveaway, so thanks to Goodreads and Allen & Unwin.

I thought the premise of this book sounded interesting, and it was, but it wasn’t compelling. It was put-down-able - as evidenced by the fact that it took me about 9 days to read it. It’s a shame - I felt like I should really have been on the edge of my seat wondering whether the mother had killed her daughter, whether it was an accident or deliberate, or whether the daughter would actually be found 2 yea
...more
Tundra Morscheck
Feb 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book probes deeply into relationships and the undercurrents that touch all of us; spouses, friends, family and acquaintances. How we perceive and judge people and the implications and effects of our behaviour may be unseen but are rarely without consequence to someone. Lorenzo also tackles the role of the media in passing judgement but also on our dependence of it. I found this book provoking, thoughtful and compassionate. It walks a careful line that supports the integrity of the plot. I r ...more
Bri
I enjoyed the book but was also slightly disappointed with it in some respects. I feel the characters weren't explored as deeply as they might have been and the expected emotions accompanying such a storyline were only given a superficial nod rather than the intensity they deserved. It was good but it could have been so much better.
Joan Kerr
Jun 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
'The Light On The Water' deals with the terrible experience of a mother who loses her child – and is then accused of having murdered her. Anne Baxter takes her autistic 6-year-old Aida on an ill-advised hike into the wild and beautiful Wilson’s Promontory in Victoria, and loses her forever when Aida runs ahead of her. A mother’s care for her child is boundless, society tells us, and there’s no defence for human lapses and misjudgments. There are worse mothers than Anne in the book – her own abus ...more
Helen King
Mar 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: australian, fiction
I received a copy of this book from Allen & Unwin (it's worth enter their online competitions for new releases because you might receive one as wonderful as this!)

I am still in awe of this novel, and, although it's too early to declare it my favourite book of 2016, it will certainly be one of them. As I said to friends, the author has managed to balance the most beautiful, descriptive writing (as needed - not laid on with a trowel), but at the same time, bringing to life so much of Melbourn
...more
Danielle Netherclift
Feb 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I read this book in 2 days, a feat that I haven't achieved since before I had my children, but the story and the characters were incredibly compelling to me.
The character of Anne Baxter, who endures the unimaginable twin griefs of a missing child and of being partially responsible for the disappearance of her through an innocent if out of character lapse in judgement, comes alive on the page in all of her glorious imperfection and humanity. The character of Aida, her autistic daughter, almost s
...more
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out

The Light on the Water by Olga Lorenzo is a thoughtful novel exploring a myriad of the themes, most notably motherhood, grief, guilt and love.

Two long years after her young autistic daughter disappeared during an overnight hike, Anne Baxter is on the precipice of being charged with Aida's murder. Shunned by her neighbours and vilified by the media, Anne waits...and hopes.

This is a story that focuses on character rather than action. Anne is a hugely sympathetic character, trapped in a hellish kin
...more
Saturday's Child
Jun 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
The cover grabbed my attention and then the blurb hooked me in. For a work of fiction I found I had to stop and remind myself that I was not reading a true account.
Oanh
Aug 20, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2016
I thoroughly enjoyed this when reading it but feel the ending let it down. All the themes and issues explored - motherhood, self love, families, disability - got little airing in the conclusion.
Jill
Mar 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Enter the mind of a woman whose young daughter, Aida, vanished while they were hiking at Wilson's Promontory in Victoria. We meet Anne a year of grief later when Aida's disappearance has now turned to society blaming the mother and accusing her of murder. Olga Lorenzo's skill takes us into Anne's mental and emotional torture as she tries to evade the media and to shop at odd hours to avoid the grim glares of former friends, neighbours and of total strangers. Readers remember how Australians were ...more
Theresa Smith Writes
Mar 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book was such a good read, from start to finish. I've found myself dwelling on the subject matter quite incessantly throughout. Olga's style of writing is very engaging and quite honest in its portrayal of the inner workings of each character. Despite only being told from Anna's perspective, Olga skillfully allows the reader to see exactly who each of the other characters are, not only with regard to their relationship with Anna, but who they are as a separate person. Olga's portrayal of so ...more
Elise McCune
Apr 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Anne Baxter is married to a successful lawyer and has two daughters. Her youngest daughter Aida has been diagnosed with autism and is a difficult child. Within three years Anne and Robert divorce, Robert re-marries and on a bush walk with Anne, Aida disappears.
Anne knows the chances of her daughter being found alive are low. The suspicion in the community is that she has killed Aida and they turn against her. Except of her family, her former work-mate Linda and Robert’s new wife Sandra there is
...more
Kirsti
Jan 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
When I first saw the cover of this book I was intrigued; why was this girl staring at the fish like that? What story could be contained by that cover? Then I read the synopsis, and I liked the idea even more. Anne and her daughter Aida are out bushwalking one day, something Anne has always enjoyed. Two people enter the bush, but only one comes out. Anne is almost instantly under suspicion; Aida was difficult, she had autism, Anne was suffering from a recent marriage breakdown.

Slowly but surely
...more
Nicky
Mar 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: have
This stunning novel looks at family, love, grief and how we live with the consequences of our actions. Lorenzo writes beautifully and without fear; her protagonist Anne Baxter's flaws are on display for all to see, yet she is so richly conveyed, with her awful upbringing, her devotion to Aida and her rumination over her failed marriage and her regretful and unintended neglect of Hannah, we form a profound understanding of, and can't help but love her.

But what happens without this deep insight?
...more
Evelyn
Feb 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
I was lucky enough to get a copy of "The Light on the Water" through Goodreads Giveaways. Certainly a page turner, Olga Lorenzo's tale of Anne Baxter fighting for her innocence after losing her Autistic daughter on a bushwalk evoked strong emotions in me. I felt for Anne, being treated as a murderer by strangers who judged her, having to grieve the loss of her daughter without knowing for sure what happened while defending herself to those who knew nothing about her or her daughter. I definitely ...more
Calzean
An interesting story of Anne Baxter who lost her autistic child during a bush walk. 2 years later and the police have decided to press charges of murder.
The book focuses on Anne and what she has lost - her daughter, a husband, friends - and gained notoriety, suffering the indignity from the outraged public, is trolled and dehumanised by her experiences in prison. The story also touches on refugees and other outcasts from society's fringes.
I certainly felt the frustrations of Anne, how easily it
...more
Gabi
Jun 19, 2017 rated it liked it
I really enjoyed this book and thought it was an easy read while at the same time being emotive, powerful, painful and at times hopeful. It is an interesting exploration of grief, blame, marriage, motherhood and the judgements made by society.
It's downfall, I felt, was the ending. It seemed that in the hurry to tie up loose ends and ensure the story finished with a somewhat happy ending that the exploration of characters and their stories was left incomplete. Nevertheless, still a book I would
...more
Teena
Apr 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Such a topical book, especially at this sad time in Melbourne. An autistic child goes missing while in the care of her mother. Has she been abducted, has she died in the bush or is the mother to blame? The media has made its view obvious, hounding the mother, and people in general have judged harshly. The author alludes to the mother's feeling of guilt with the secret being revealed near the end of the book. The characterisation was generally good, especially of the mother Anne but I didn't unde ...more
Anne_MB
Jan 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
An absorbing book that I found increasingly drew me in as the tension and layers of complexity built around the central character, a mother whose autistic child disappeared while in her care. I loved the writing and also thought the short chapters added to the unfolding story.
The emotions and pressure felt by the mother felt very real to me, and I was also reminded of Lindy Chamberlain as I read.
Thanks to The Reading Room and Allen & Unwin for my copy.
Helen
Jun 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a thought-provoking, soul-searching story that absolutely grabs you from the start. The blurb says "an unforgettable, aching, magical read" and that describes it perfectly. Seen through the accused one's eyes, through her dreadful grief and feelings of guilt, we also rage at the injustice, of how people are so willing to cast blame. We can also see how hard it is to be a parent and of how we judge each other in our failings. A great read.
Lindy
Mar 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
A delightful read, close up and personal. Current in its subject matter - a master stroke being the passive aggressive sister character but a the sensitive relationship stuff went nowhere. What I missed was a sense of the agony the protagonist would have felt at losing a child .
Jess Cook
This was an easy book to read. I found the start a bit sad. It's not as good as I thought it would be. I wouldn't rave about it.
Bec
Mar 02, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: skimmed
I did not like this book but I thought it an interesting idea,I didn't like how the author envisioned the story. I didn't understand what she was trying to say & I thought the dialogue was bad plus there seemed to be random sentences, it could have been edited to be more coherent. It reads like someone who has done a creative writing course but should have spent more time researching the subject.
The book is about Anne, a woman who is recently divorced at her own instigation but when her husb
...more
Kevin
May 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: review-copy
Note: The copy of this book for review was supplied generously for free by Allen and Unwin through a Goodreads giveaway. It seems that my review of The Light on the Water was not posted on Goodreads when I read it shortly after its release, so apologies for not posting this more promptly. This review is I hope a case of better late than never!

The Light on the Water was released in early 2016, and is Melbourne-based Lorenzo's first novel since 1996's The Rooms in My Mother's House.

A little girl,
...more
Kerrie
Dec 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Aida, 6 years old and autistic, runs ahead of her mother on an overnight camping trip and bushwalk to Wilsons Promontory and disappears. Anne has already questioned her own wisdom in taking Aida for this walk, and when Aida cannot be found, others question it too. Hours turn into days, weeks, and months and there is no news about what has happened to Aida. Media attention ensures that Anne is unable to appear in public without people recognising her face and often saying dreadful things. A Face ...more
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Olga Lorenzo's The Light on the Water 1 9 Apr 21, 2016 10:16PM  
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Olga Lorenzo is the author of The Rooms in My Mother's House , which was published in 1996 and shortlisted for various literary awards, including the IMPAC Prize. Olga has won the Felix Meyer Scholarship and the Percival Serle Bequest at the University of Melbourne for her writing, as well as grants from Arts Victoria and the Australia Council, and a Varuna Fellowship. She has taught writing for 1 ...more
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