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Cool Water (Juliet in August)

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  2,525 ratings  ·  447 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 heart
Hardcover, 328 pages
Published March 1st 2010 by HarperCollins Canada
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Average rating 3.68  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,525 ratings  ·  447 reviews

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Diane Barnes
Jul 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a quiet novel taking place in a small town in Saskatchewan, Canada. One night and a day, several regular people with no claim to fame, living their lives, crossing paths with neighbors who have known them for years, with strangers who don't know them at all; doesn't sound like much of a story to some readers who prefer an action filled plot. But if you are the type of reader who believes that what happens inside the hearts and minds of the characters is more important that what happens a ...more
Aug 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
May 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
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
"The landscape was so vast and simple, reduced to sky and grass and sand. Yet, in the surface at her feet, she saw patterns as intricate and complicated as the veins in an insect's wings."

This is a lovely piece of Canadian fiction, probably one of the finest pieces of writing I've read in some time. Warren has a large cast of characters, rural and small-town folk, who live in and around the town of Juliet. The are simple enough people, but all have depths and longings and secrets. I am glad to
Aug 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After racing through several action packed, the-world-is-in-danger, paranormal adventure quests it was a pure pleasure to 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 earthshakin ...more
Aug 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having finished this almost a week ago, I was debating with myself between a 4 or a 5 star. It is certainly 4.5. This author is new to me and I'll look for her name upon another. Absolutely!

What kept me giving it that last .5 star? My frustration that each time I got buried within an excellent character of poignant layer, I would abruptly get jerked out of it- and switched immediately into one of several other interplaying story lines. All in Juliet, the town. All in August, the month. All so di
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
Oct 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: local-interest
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
Apr 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Ruth Seeley
Dec 30, 2010 rated it really liked it
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.
Kara Hansen
Apr 07, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. Cool Water takes us to the small town of Juliet, Saskatchewan. A town where everyone knows everyone, and no one’s business or life is private. It is in the heat of a dry, hot August day that these characters come to life. The book is broken up into chapters, each of which focuses on a different character(s). As the day wears on, these characters grew on me. Norval Birch, the bank manager, trying to cope with both the demands of the bank and his wife, Lila. Lee Torgeson, a young farmer ...more
Jan 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: canada
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,
Siobhan Fallon
Jan 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canadian
Canadian literature at its best. A brilliant, well written, absorbing "24 hour portrait" of a small, fictional Canadian prairie town and it's various inhabitants. A book about nothing, and about everything. I would love to see a sequel.
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
Jan 25, 2011 rated it did not like it
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. 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
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
Jul 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing

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
Aug 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.)
Aug 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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...
Juliet is a small town (just over 1,000 people) in Southern Saskatchewan, near Swift Current. This book follows some of the town residents (and local farmers) for one day. We meet Lee, who has taken over his “family” farm (we learn early on, that Lester and Astrid were not his biological parents); Norval, the town banker, whose daughter, just out of high school, is pregnant and is getting married… neither she nor her fiance are particularly responsible; Blaine, whose farm has failed and he is ha ...more
May 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
This started a little slow for me, and after a few chapters I thought this was a short story collection. Then the cast of characters seemed to come together for me and I was immersed in the story. Once I finished I was amazed to realize this whole story, with the exception of the first vignette, took place over two days.
I am from Saskatchewan, and I have lived in the area of the fictional town of Juliet. In fact, I also lived in Swift Current, but before the "new hospital" was built. However, I
Mar 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fic-1986-present
The first half of the book: 3-stars,
the 3rd quarter: 3.5 stars,
and the last quarter: 4 stars.

Kent Haruf kept coming to mind while I was reading. Both authors set their stories in small grassland towns, both have well-developed realistic characters. Haruf has a traditional plot. Warren uses a short-story approach, with each story focusing on a particular person, weaving from one character to the next and back again, with each reaching a conclusion (of sorts).
Aban (Aby)
Mar 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
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 -
Jul 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013, can-con
You can tell me that your dog ran away
Then tell me that it took three days
I've heard every joke
I've heard every one you'd say
You think there's not a lot goin' on
Look closer baby, you're so wrong
And that's why you can stay so long
Where there's not a lot goin' on

All I really know about Saskatchewan: This theme song and the show it's from, Corner Gas; one brief trip I took as a teenager to see the orchids at Cypress Hills; stories about the ranch in Eastend that's in my husband's family; and
Janet Berkman
Jul 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: canadian
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
Eric Wright
Aug 25, 2010 rated it it was ok
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
Jul 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
ARC Received from Giveaway

Dianne Warren's first novel, "Juliet in August", is a slice-of-life story of a town and it's inhabitants. Juliet is a small town in Western Canada; a typical small town where everyone knows everyone else's business. This is the story of a few days in the lives of the banker, the down-and-out rancher, and the jealous wife of a cowboy. These characters, among many others, are brought to life with a refreshing brilliance. The best part of all--we know exactly
Feb 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
I really liked this book. Takes place in small town Saskatchewan. What I liked was that it was about ordinary people with secrets and problem. It started off with some of the principal characters having trouble sleeping and ended with more sleeplessness. I loved the way it encompassed 24 hours and how much changed for these people in that time. There was an underlying feeling of anxiety throughout- you could sense that something bad was going to happen- just not sure when and to whom. I feel lik ...more
Jan 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
A lovley, gentle collection of stories.
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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.