The Memory of Water
New American Library, 2008 (2008)
Reviewed by Joan Burton
arnie Maitland has returned to her hometown of McLellanville, South Carolina after ten years. She had moved to Arizona where she works as a teacher (the desert was the furthest place she could escape the ocean). She has been called home by her ex-brother-in-law Quinn. It seems that her nephew Gil, whom she has never met, needs her help.
arnie and her sister Diana grew up near the ocean. They learned to swim, fish, and sail at a very young age. They had no fear of the water until one day they went sailing with their unstable mother and the boat capsized. The sisters survived but their mother drowned. Instead of making them grow closer, the accident separated the sisters. They both had different memories of what happened out on the water. Marnie blocked the memories out and went off to college.
ow Marnie is back home to help Gil. Diana and Gil went out for a sail, and on their return Gil was traumatized and refused to speak. Diana would not say what happened to Gil to leave him in this state. Diana says the
is at the center of all the family problems. Like her mother before her, Diana suffers emotionally too.
he story is told by the four main characters in the book - sisters Marnie and Diana, Diana's son Gil, and Diana's ex-husband Quinn. As each relates their memories of the past, we get different outlooks on the same experiences. Diana resents Marnie's intrusion into their life and the story takes many twists and turns before its shocking conclusion.
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