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The Water Cure

3.47  ·  Rating details ·  156 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
I am guilty not because of my actions, to which I freely admit, but for my accession, admission, confession that I
executed these actions with not only deliberation and
premeditation but with zeal and paroxysm and purpose . . .
The true answer to your question is shorter than the lie.
Did you? I did.
This is a confession of a victim turned villain. When Ishmael Kid
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published August 21st 2007 by Graywolf Press
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Jul 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
Everett is slowly but surely becoming one of my favorite authors. All of his books require the reader to not lie back complacently while a story washes over them but to be invovled. To actually think about the story and what the author is trying to get across. This book is not for the linear plot line lover. Its all over the place. Its all about ideas of justice, fairness, revenge, national identity, racism, torture, etc, etc, and a lot of nonsense. He even sometimes throws in riddles, jokes, an ...more
Carl R.
May 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I am guilty not because of my actions, to which I freely admit, but for my accession, admission, confession that I executed these actions with not only deliberation and premeditation but with zeal and paroxysm and purpose....The true answer to your question is shorter than the lie. Did you? I did.

These opening lines of The Water Cure by my recent discovery, Percival Everett (See WW Jan 19, 21, 23, 2012) presage what I guarantee, the most difficult novel about the rape/kidnap/murder of an eleve
Feb 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people disgusted with the bush adm. who are also lovers of experimental fiction
Shelves: experimental
the writing of this book is fantastic. its cumulative effect is really stunning. by the end, you wish the book never ended. much love, soul, and beauty in this exploration of the ways our american identity -- collective and personal -- has been brutalized and become, in the process, itself brutal.
Feb 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This hurts.
Apr 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
The books I like are esoteric. Realism’s predictable format can be a powerful vehicle which disappears and allows “the story” center stage, and I appreciate that if the subject and the writing are compelling. But I prefer the esoteric, and like stylistic innovation. For these reasons I’m beguiled by Everett’s quirkiness. He keeps stopping the plot to make intriguing forays into asides, discussing philosophers’ writings, spending paragraphs laying out his relation to these ideas, describing cons ...more
Aug 19, 2009 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one
This book started out with tons of potential, and then literally drowned itself in self-indulgence, diminishment of plot, and overall tedium. I was intrigued when it started -- linguistic play (love it!), multiple perspectives (love it), politically charged (enjoy it). But by the middle, there was no point except for the book to intentionally push the reader into thinking that the author was too smart, and too complicated to actually write something coherent for the reader to follow (absolutely ...more
Nov 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
There's probably a literary jargonette for the kinds of experimental prose Everett uses in The Water Cure, but I have no idea what that might be. It was disturbing the first few times I encountered it but after a time it grew on me. About a third of the way in it even started making sense.

He brings the tortured mind of a devastated parent into far too sharp focus and critically examines some of our society's closely held beliefs (finding many of them wanting).

I strongly recommend this book to an
Kat Warrior
Jul 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Kat Warrior by: Quetzal
If you're a fan of the traditional drama and tragedy format... do not read this book. If you're willing to throw everything you know about oder and sense out the window of a moving car, check this book out ASAP.

Just because the author is a successful English professor doesn't mean that he'll follow the rules. The story of the emotionally distraught Ishmael is presented in a unique and creative method that I've never read before.
May 23, 2008 marked it as unfinished
I couldn't finish this. I like Everett's work very much, and I liked the way this book was written, the fragmentary nature and such. I really wanted to like it. But all the philosophy in it is, when you are a philosopher, just annoying. It isn't very good, as philosophy, and his 'deep questions' seem just silly or easily answered.
Lewis Weinstein
Jan 27, 2014 rated it did not like it
I get the feeling Everett is writing more for himself than for the reader. I stopped reading.
Jul 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017challenge
If you want a book with a chronological narrative that has a recognizable beginning, middle and end, this book is not for you.

If you enjoy a challenge and are willing to enter into a complex narrative that includes occasional trips into philosophy and introspection then this book will grip you and shake you around. Be prepared for occasional word play unlike any you've seen before. It's more than playing with meaning - the structure of words and sentences is pulled apart and recombined in comple
Christian Schwoerke
Dec 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
A shaggy dog story. Just how far will one go in reality, or in his imagination, to avenge the death of his child? Is the emotion real, or is it all just part of a performance to illustrate that the narrator is a normal, caring father? Since Assumption, I have begun to note the literary affect Everett evinces versus what other writers present as emotion, and there is something deliberate and distant in his manner. It makes me uneasy, but it also resonates with me.
Sue Russell
Aug 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
God, it pains me because I am a new yet huge Everett fan. But to me, this book was verbal water-boarding. Could not breathe. I gave it a fair shot but reluctantly, I set it aside. Curious to hear others' views.
Feb 03, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: crime
A very unsatisfactory read. I was very bored with this book (I would be a fan of Percival Everett's other novels)
Feb 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
It is a cliche of the lit biz that writing about writing is perhaps the hardest kind of writing to do. Yet Everett in many of his novels seems to pull it off. Certainly not effortlessly. This is, if anything, a very effortful novel, no doubt to the irritation of some readers for whom it will seem showy and self-indulgent. But it would be showy and self-indulgent to generate the kinds of fractured and philosophical reflections Everett does here, if his novel did NOT have a solid realistic reason ...more
Apr 13, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Waterboarding. Il prigioniero viene legato e sulla testa incappucciata si fa scorrere dell’acqua, provocando così la sensazione continua di annegamento. Una violenza che, per quanto dura ed “efficace”, non lascia segni evidenti di maltrattamento sul corpo e viene per questo preferita ad altre.
“La cura dell’acqua”, si riferisce proprio a questa terribile tortura. Ishmael Kidder, un padre sconvolto dalla perdita della figlia, una undicenne violentata e uccisa, decide di rapire il principale indizi
Sep 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Everett is a revelation to me, unsung but for the praise on the cover from Madison Smart Bell (an author I don't much care for). I came across his work somewhat by random, searching for another author in the library stacks, and the themes and his experimental style of many of his titles spoke to me.

While I wouldn't say he is as complex as a Pynchon or Foster Wallace, there is a depth and intelligence working here that is not present in much modern fiction (I can say that this particular title r
Sep 30, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: real
The protagonist is Ishmael Kidder. His ex-wife is Charlotte. His daughter, Lane, is dead—raped, strangled, her body tossed naked into a ravine. Reggie is a sneezy smoke hound. A few days after Lane's death, the police apprehend him and extract traces of Lane's DNA from his forearm, where she'd bitten him during her struggle to stay alive. Despite the seemingly airtight case against him, though, and for reasons never elucidated, Reggie manages to escape justice. This development is, to Ishmael, u ...more
Apr 06, 2010 rated it it was ok
Ishmael Kidder is an African-American romance novelist who lives in isolation on a mountain in New Mexico, in separation from his ex-wife Charlotte and 11 year old daughter Lane who live in L.A. Lane is brutally murdered, and the police locate the killer. Somehow Kidder kidnaps the suspect, who denies that he is guilty of the crime, and takes him back to his home, where he seeks his revenge by torturing him using "the water cure", or waterboarding, the technique reportedly used by the CIA to ext ...more
Nov 16, 2014 rated it it was ok
The plot of “The Water Cure” by Percival Everett sounds simple enough: daughter gets raped and killed, father tortures killer for revenge. The book … well, it is not as easy as that.

"The Water Cure" is a very modern novel. Therefore, the reader gets various fragments thrown together: passages about the torture, jokes, greek philosophy, French, "Alice in Wonderland", pre-daughter’s-death and shortly-after moments, repetitions, pictures, imagined conversations with real people… There is a lot of p
Michalis Charalampakis
Oct 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
Είναι σπάνιο ένα τόσο πυκνό νοημάτων, αλληγοριών, γλώσσας παραλλήρημα να είναι τόσο ευανάγνωστο και ευθύ. Η γλώσσα του Έβερετ τρέχει σαν νερό, έχοντας πράγματα να πει, είτε αναλύοντας την ψυχοσύνθεση της εκδίκησης είτε παρεμβάλλοντας αρχαίους έλληνες φιλοσόφους. Ένα βιβλίο μόνιμη παρεκτροπή από το θέμα, αριστοτεχνικά αφηγημένο όπου ο συγγραφέας, τέμνει και αποδομεί το αμερικανικό όνειρο αλλά και τις αντιστάσεις του αναγνώστη σε χίλια κομματάκια.
Simone Subliminalpop
Un romanzo-non-romanzo decisamente ostico, prima di tutto per la non consequenzialità dei frammenti che lo compongono, ma anche per la consistenza di questi: spezzoni narrativi, giochi di parole, illustrazioni, dialoghi immaginari, etc. Di sicuro un libro non per tutti, ma che con non poche difficoltà è in grado anche in questo affastellarsi di acume letterario di rivelare quanto può essere corrosiva la violenza (e non solo).

Lee (Rocky)
Oct 28, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016
I think I can confidently say that I have never read a book like this one before. There isn't much story, at least not one that advances much beyond the premise. The narration is fractured, often philosophical on all sorts of things, sometimes barely coherent. The cumulative effect of reading it really built up to something cool, but this is definitely not for everybody.
Sep 23, 2007 marked it as to-read
Have not read yet. Anyone read it yet?. Looks great. Sometimes 10 books pile up before I read. I am like an addicted gambler BUT with books. I want a book buried with me and naturally one not read yet. Rochelle
Sep 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book brought me into its world and held me there, whispering for weeks after i finished reading it.
Jul 05, 2014 rated it it was ok
There are a few excellent paragraphs but you have to invest quite a bit of energy in some ridiculous messes to find them. Just not worth it in the end I'm afraid.
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Percival L. Everett (born 1956) is an American writer and Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Southern California.

There might not be a more fertile mind in American fiction today than Everett’s. In 22 years, he has written 19 books, including a farcical Western, a savage satire of the publishing industry, a children’s story spoofing counting books, retellings of the Greek myths
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“Why will I bury you? So that one day I might disturb your grave.” 16 likes
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