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3.73  ·  Rating details ·  3,042 ratings  ·  625 reviews
On the longest day of the summer, twelve people sit cooped up with their families in a faded Scottish cabin park. The endless rain leaves them with little to do but watch the other residents.

A woman goes running up the Ben as if fleeing; a retired couple reminisce about neighbours long since moved on; a teenage boy braves the dark waters of the loch in his red kayak. Each
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published August 20th 2020 by Pan MacMillan/Picador (first published August 7th 2020)
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Wendy Yes, there are descriptions of a couple having sex. Nothing shocking - just normal sex.

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Average rating 3.73  · 
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 ·  3,042 ratings  ·  625 reviews

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Amalia Gkavea
‘’Dawn. There’s no sunrise, no birdsong.
Light seeps over the water, through the branches. The sky is lying on the loch, filling the trees, heavy in the spaces between the pine needles, settling between blades of grass and mottling the pebbles on the beach. Although there’s no distance between cloud and land, nowhere for rain to fall, it is raining; the sounds of water on leaves and bark, on roofs and stones, windows and cars, become as constant as the sounds of blood and air in your own body.’’
Summerwater is a slim novella tracking the course of a single rainy day in a Scottish holiday park. Each section—somewhere between a vignette and a short story—follows a different guest, capturing that very specific ennui of ostensibly being on holiday but it’s bucketing down.

The writing is crisp, unfussy and flows easily, with an attentive third-person limited perspective (it’s a style that reminds me: I should read more Virginia Woolf). I found that my interest in the various characters fl
Mar 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020-read, uk
Sarah Moss is a master of evocative writing: The story moves slowly and many passages are very descriptive (which usually bothers me), but the text is still intense and intriguing. For her short novel "Summerwater", she chose a peculiar structure: Over the course of one day, we meet 12 people in different stages of their lives, all of them spending their summer holidays in a Scottish cabin park at a loch. There's a retired couple, there are families with children of different ages, a young engag ...more
Apr 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Location-Scotland, a holiday lodge park in The Trossachs. It’s raining like there’s no tomorrow, some cabin fever setting in as the holiday makers are trapped indoors though a few decide to ‘make the best of it’. The story is told from the perspectives of the occupants of some of the lodges, all in their own little world but also hyper aware of possible prying eyes in the close proximity. They are unknowingly united in their grumbling about the nightly loud music and partying from a cabin of Ukr ...more
Nilufer Ozmekik
Oct 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Such a well written cabin fever story is taken place in claustrophobic, rainy, depressing atmosphere with detailed, living, breathing, pure realistic, layered characterization and their random, smart, quirky, dark narrations.

Of course it’s well deserved five starred reading. When you read something special you feel you’re safe with the extremely great written words of extraordinarily talented story-teller!

Different families gather in holiday park located at Trossachs / Scotland for spending t
Proustitute (somewhat here, somewhat there)
Eerie, lyrical, poignant, unflinching: Sarah Moss’s Summerwater is a series of vignettes about families and couples on holiday in the Trossachs, where the rain pours down unrelentingly. We encounter many people whose paths all cross—a couple trying to orgasm together; an elderly couple with a growing distance between them due to the wife’s disability; a young girl who enjoys a swing that dangerously exists between loch and rocks, and who actually throws rocks at another girl for not belonging; a ...more
Ova - Excuse My Reading
How could Sarah Moss write books that are short and where barely nothing happens in term of plot, but they create massive effect on you, you read in one sitting, and take parts of it with you forever? I am astonished. More than 10 characters that wander around without really speaking but still all of them fleshed out... The ending was probably the bit I found the weakest of this, but still the writing! Deserves full five stars.

I was impressed with Sarah Moss's Ghost Wall, so I was eager to read more by her.
The ratings and reviews are quite mixed, so I was prepared for disappointment.
I was charmed from the first chapter, but I didn't want to declare my delight early, just in case things went down the drain.
Summerwater is made up of chapters written in the stream of consciousness style. Each chapter represents the points of views of several people holidaying in a Scottish cabin park. There's a forty-something woman,
Feb 05, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio
I can't shake the idea that this book was probably brilliant, but the cacophony of disgruntled, unhappy voices presented in third person stream of consciousness nearly drove me mad. Atmospheric beyond measure and absolutely saturated in commentary on the state of the world today, this (most likely) brilliant book exhausted me and wrung me out.

There are some writers that I just don't "get" and I feel like perhaps Sarah Moss might be one of those. If I were to place her on that list, she'd be in g
Dec 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5, rounded up.

This is my first Moss novel, but it won't be my last - in fact, as soon as I finished, I immediately started reading Ghost Wall. In an odd way, this reminded me of Olive Kitteridge and its sequel - the way a major character in one story becomes a cameo in another, how the community itself is as much a character as any of the human ones, how the natural environment is always impinging on what happens.

Although I generally prefer a more linear structure, and this is just barely a n
Dannii Elle
Apr 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Actual rating 4.5/5 stars.

Continual rain keeps those vacationing in one of Scotland's loch-edged holiday parks largely indoors. With little to do, tempers fray and force some out to face the misery of the sodden landscape, instead. Some run, some kayak, some visit those they shouldn't. Those inside clean, contemplate, make love, eat too much, drink too much. All watch. All wait. Something, something they can not name or even begin to understand, is descending on them all, along with the expanse
Nov 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020, arc, netgalley
She can still do poetry. Deep asleep, deep asleep, Deep asleep it lies, The still lake of Summerwater Under the still skies. Herself in little white socks and the dress her mother made, real Liberty lawn with red berries on it, stepping forward on the stage and seeing her parents in the middle of the front row, smiling, Dad mouthing along with her, Mum in that hat. No, Semmerwater not summerwater, took her ages to remember to say it right, Dad listening to her every night when he came back from
Oct 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sarah-moss
This is a fairly brief novel set in a day, the longest day of summer. It is set in Scotland in the Trossachs, next to a loch where a group of holiday cabins sit. The novel consists of the day from the various perspectives of the occupants of the various cabins, except one of the cabins. There is a cross section of ages with a variety of concerns about day to day life. The weather for the day is appalling, cold and raining: high summer in the UK! It starts at dawn and ends in the dark in the late ...more
Roman Clodia
Mar 30, 2020 rated it it was ok
I've loved some of Moss' past books but this brief fable of a story feels distinctly underpowered. It seems to me to show how a disparate group of strangers become a temporary quasi-community when something disastrous happens, but for about 95% of the time before we're rather aimlessly in the self-absorbed heads of various characters. The voices of these inner monologues are too same-y and, by their very nature, mundane.

That said, the 'story' of the young woman whose lover is determined they sh
Mar 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
4.5 rounded up

I've been a big fan of all the Sarah Moss books I've read, but this one is definitely up there with The Tidal Zone as one of her best. Summerwater is a taut, and at times claustrophobic novella chronicling a day at a holiday resort in rural Scotland. The day is rainy, torrentially so, confining most of the holiday-goers to their cabins, providing the perfect environment for them all to watch each other and get on each other's nerves. Tensions rise throughout the day, culminating in
Carmel Hanes
Feb 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
4.5 rounded down.

A favorite pastime (pre-covid) was observing fellow travelers in airports. Where are they headed? What is their story? I'd make up scenarios in my head in response to their expressions and behavior, especially towards those they traveled with. It's a game I'd play with restless grandchildren in cars, assigning lives and preferences for the people we passed; the more outlandish, the better.

So perhaps it's no surprise that Summerwater was right up my alley. Moss takes an unconnec
Gumble's Yard (aka Golden Reviewer)
Published today 20/08/2020.

The book is set on a single Summer day in a Scottish cabin park occupied by a number of otherwise unconnected families (some owners of the cabins, most borrowing from families or friends). On the day in question the relentless rain of the previous days has continued.

The story is told in a series of third party point of view chapters – with narrators largely matched in pairs (husband and wife, boyfriend and girlfriend, siblings) and ranging in age from a young child li
Claire Fuller
Nov 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this short novel - almost a series of short stories - about a few family groups staying in cabins on the shore of a loch during a single very rainy day. I liked the many different voices and their thoughts that we are so close to: the elderly woman who is beginning to forget things, the young girl who taunts another child, the young woman having sex and fantasizing about Don Draper, the teenage boy who nearly drowns. But in many of them Moss stops just short of something terribl ...more
Aug 25, 2020 rated it really liked it

Ominously oppressive, atmospheric and enigmatic, this was for me slightly better than Ghost Wall. I could've handled another 50 pages for two more additional interior monologues but perhaps the brevity will mean the shock of the abrupt finale lingers...
Dec 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a perfect little novel to read over a few wet summer days. Although set in a holiday park in Scotland the setting could be any number of similar establishments here in New Zealand. Vaguely mildewed cabins set amongst trees, families forced into claustrophobic proximity. And rain... so much rain for what was supposed to be a holiday spent in the sun.

Told in a series of linked vignettes, we circle around the guest cabins, teasing out awkward family dynamics, spying on the other residents
If the blurb of a book says that it's "written in stream-of-consciousness" or something along those lines, I'm immediately less interested. I never gravitate towards books written in that way (I think this one lecture on modernism at university is to be blamed here, damn you Ulysses!). However, I now declare that with this book and her previous novel Ghost Wall, Sarah Moss has Made Stream-of-Consciousness Great Again™.
Summerwater is told through the perspectives of twelve people as they s
The 'stream of consciousness' writing style might not be to everyone's taste, but it works well here. You get inside the various character's minds, not observing, but seeing their 'secret selves' - making the events come to life. The claustrophobic, ceaseless rain and wet - tarnishing what should be a welcome vacation break from their ordinary lives.

Sunshine would have much improved this cabin park in the Trossachs - though to be honest it would still be rather faded and the worse for wear. But
This is nearly as compact as Moss’s previous novella, Ghost Wall, yet contains a riot of voices. Set on one long day at a Scottish holiday park, it moves between the minds of 12 vacationers disappointed by the constant rain – “not that you come to Scotland expecting sun but this is a really a bit much, day after day of it, torrential” – and fed up with the loud music and partying that’s come from the Eastern Europeans’ chalet several nights this week. In the wake of Brexit, the casual xenophobia ...more
Jun 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
I am unsure whether to call this latest offering, by the wonderful Sarah Moss, a short novel, or a novella. It is based around a holiday park in Scotland, where a range of different people are staying in cabins that they either own, rent, or are borrowing for a holiday. However, rain pours down constantly, leaving most of those stuck inside for most of the time, often with bored and fretful youngsters. Meanwhile, there is a tent just outside the boundaries of the park, causing some disquiet, and ...more
"Although there's no distance between cloud and land, nowhere for rain to fall, it is raining; the sounds of water on leaves and bark, on roofs and stones, windows and cars, become as constant as the sounds of blood and air in your own body.

You would notice soon enough, if it stopped."

This book was definitely rough on my poor anxious brain, but it was also very lovely. How Sarah Moss can conjure up such ephemeral dread with people just prattling about their lives I don't know, but I expected eve
Darryl Suite
Jan 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing
My first Sarah Moss. I LOVED the style. It's heavily stream of consciousness, but in the third person. The tone is very sardonic and bitter. You're reading about different families trapped in a holiday park during a never ending rainstorm, and they're all resentful of the weather. Damn, some of these characters are downright rude!! This narrative led into a shocking direction and concludes in a disturbing manner. Themes: marriage, parenthood, adolescence, community, entitlement, xenophobia, and ...more
Mar 28, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020
Summerwater is set in a Scottish cabin park in the Trossachs (a stunningly beautiful part of the world) and takes place over a single day. The day is marked by the continuous torrential rain that falls (I have holidayed in Scotland many times: this happens).

The nature of a cabin park means that it puts different groups of people, who would never normally meet, into a temporary community. Summerwatch takes this transient community and presents us with a series of chapters each of which focuses on
Tom Mooney
Aug 08, 2020 rated it liked it
Interesting, insightful, but sad and ultimately pointless.

This cycle of stories from a large cast of characters at a Scottish holiday cabin Park bears flashes of Sarah Moss's undoubted genius.

Some of the characters' stories are almost painfully close to the truths we all hide from the world (where Haruf shows us what's in our hearts and Bukowski shows us what's in our pants, Moss lays bare what's in our heads - and boy is it depressing).

But many of these voices pass quickly from intrigue to ted
May 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
I’ve only just finished reading SUMMERWATER by Sarah Moss; despite all the praise for GHOST WALL last year, it’s the first Sarah Moss novella I’ve ever read, and my feelings about it are as choppy as the waters of the loch near where the book is set.

This is one of those books where you’re not sure what’s going on until you’re about three-quarters of the way though. It’s broken up into little sections. Each one is a different point of view from characters staying in a holiday resort surrounding t
Aug 30, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
I expected to enjoy this more after listening to the author speak about the inspiration behind the novel and her observations of holidaymakers after spending a rain-filled holiday in similar circumstances, however I found that most of the narrative voices sounded too similar to be able to distinguish between one disgruntled couple/family and another, their stream-of-consciousness thoughts were tedious and a sad depiction of the state of mind of that demographic. Perhaps that was the point, but t ...more
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Sarah Moss is the award-winning author of six novels: Cold Earth, Night Waking, selected for the Fiction Uncovered Award in 2011, Bodies of Light, Signs for Lost Children and The Tidal Zone, all shortlisted for the prestigious Wellcome Prize, and her new book Ghost Wall, out in September 2018.

She has also written a memoir of her year living in Iceland, Names for the Sea, which was shortlisted for

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