Wally Lamb certainly knows how to tell a story. I thoroughly enjoyed She’s Come Undone and I Know This Much is True, both of which I read several years ago so I was optimistic I would like his latest novel We Are Water. The meaning of the rather cryptic title didn’t become evident until nearly the end of the book and I found the explanation a bit unsatisfactory. That could have been the publisher’s fault rather than the author as the authors do not always pick the title of their books.
The story is told from the first-person perspective of several key characters in the story. Each character, as in real life, is broken in some way. The interplay of the characters’ personalities and the plot is intriguing and for the most part we sympathize and empathize with their various issues. Annie Oh is a complex, uneducated artist married to a complex educated professor of psychology named Orion. Each has abandonment issues that complicate their married life. After their children are grown, Annie and her agent begin a lesbian relationship that results in marriage leaving Orion confused, angry and lost.
We Are Water tells how the characters come together, come apart and come together again. Subplots involve racism, sexism, abuse, and survival. Its a good read. Much better than John Grisham’s Gray Mountain that I’m going to give up on as soon as one of the other books I’m wait-listed for at the library becomes available. That’s the joy of a library card.