I recently read “We Are Water” by Wally Lamb.
This book is huge in scope and page number. It is also heavy in terms of characters and subject matter.
I am so glad I read it.
The story is far reaching and profound full of unforgettable characters… almost too many, but thankfully Lamb skirts past that line time and time again. While the “off screen” aspects of the novel’s actions (showcased often by flashbacks and the use of italics) could sometimes be overdone, on the whole I really enjoyed the highs and lows of the very complex and beautiful story.
The main characters are sympathetic although complex and the variety of supporting characters are given enough attention as to make them three dimensional in their own rights.
I will say that getting into a character’s head can be a dark and uncomfortable thing and there was one character who’s portion I had to skim with half closed eyes because of how disturbing I found his part of the story. There is also a very well written and horrific scene of a baby dying that left me shaken and in need of a break despite the fact that I had known it was coming for over a hundred pages.
I think what sets this story apart from other long intertwined sagas is the attention to detail and Lamb’s willingness to grapple with the character’s motivations as opposed to simply letting us watch the drama unfold.
I’m not sure I will ever reread this book, but it was compelling and worth the word count.
TLDR: Not for the fain to heart or those needing Trigger Warnings: a saga story about how past trauma can really fudge up the present.