The Forms of Water by Andrea Barrett, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
The Forms of Water

The Forms of Water

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by Andrea Barrett
     
 

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At the age of eighty, Brendan Auberon—formerly of the Order of Our Lady of the Valley, now confined to a nursing home—has one last wish: to see his 200 acres overlooking what used to be Paradise Valley, before the villages were drowned to provide water for the city of Boston. Now, Brendan’s memories drift beneath the surface of the Stillwater

Overview

At the age of eighty, Brendan Auberon—formerly of the Order of Our Lady of the Valley, now confined to a nursing home—has one last wish: to see his 200 acres overlooking what used to be Paradise Valley, before the villages were drowned to provide water for the city of Boston. Now, Brendan’s memories drift beneath the surface of the Stillwater Reservoir. When Brendan dupes his nephew, Henry, into hijacking the nursing home van for the journey, what begins as a lark becomes an adventure infinitely more complex.

Editorial Reviews

San Jose Mercury News
“The writing is careful and coherent, and the characters are wonderful.”
Belles Lettres
“Moving.... Barrett's imagery is oddly memorable.... The Forms of Water is crafted with care.”
Detroit News
“Subtle and strong.... Barrett's talents shine.... Barrett not only gets the geographic terrain right, she has the emotional terrain down as well. Her writing... is insidious and fluid and as clean as a Berkshire stream. Long after the book has been shelved... you'll find yourself thinking of Brendan, a crowning achievement for any writer.”
The New York Times Book Review
“If any group of mortals knows how it feels to be expelled from paradise, it's the Auberon clan, the appealingly wretched family in Andrea Barrett's fourth novel.... Ms. Barrett nicely details the quiet agonies of people who have fallen from grace through bad luck and worse judgment, and suggests that if you can't regain paradise, you can at least make peace with its loss.”
San Francisco Chronicle Review
“Brendan is a masterful creation.”
The Washington Post
“Intelligent and elegiac.... [a] winning novel.”
Mark Childress
“Of all the writers in the present generation, I can think of no one who's better at exploring the crystalline structures of human relations than Andrea Barrett. The lady has a very powerful miscroscope. The Forms of Water is just lovely—deeply funny, deeply serious, wise.”
From the Publisher
“Barrett returns with her specialty—a story about the tangled web of a family told in prose that's spun smooth as silk.... The strength this time around lies in Barrett's fine writing and the haunting power of the water, rising to fill that reservoir. It was a real event, but like the best of fiction writers, Barrett makes it more than real.”

“Barrett combines family dissension and adventure with healthy doses of faith and optimism. The result is a satisfying analysis of family dysfunction in the spirit of Sue Miller.”

“The writing is careful and coherent, and the characters are wonderful.”

“Of all the writers in the present generation, I can think of no one who's better at exploring the crystalline structures of human relations than Andrea Barrett. The lady has a very powerful miscroscope. The Forms of Water is just lovely—deeply funny, deeply serious, wise.”

“Moving.... Barrett's imagery is oddly memorable.... The Forms of Water is crafted with care.”

“Subtle and strong.... Barrett's talents shine.... Barrett not only gets the geographic terrain right, she has the emotional terrain down as well. Her writing... is insidious and fluid and as clean as a Berkshire stream. Long after the book has been shelved... you'll find yourself thinking of Brendan, a crowning achievement for any writer.”

“If any group of mortals knows how it feels to be expelled from paradise, it's the Auberon clan, the appealingly wretched family in Andrea Barrett's fourth novel.... Ms. Barrett nicely details the quiet agonies of people who have fallen from grace through bad luck and worse judgment, and suggests that if you can't regain paradise, you can at least make peace with its loss.”

“Brendan is a masterful creation.”

“Intelligent and elegiac.... [a] winning novel.”

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A troubled family is reunited during a journey to an aging uncle's Massachusetts home. (Aug.)
Library Journal
After spending his productive years in a monastery near his childhood home, 80-year-old Brendan Auberon is now confined to a wheelchair and a nursing home, where his family pay him occasional obligatory visits. When Brendan convinces his nephew Henry to help him return to the home of his youth, now covered by a reservoir supplying water to the city of Boston, Brendan steals the nursing home van for the adventure. The trip doesn't turn out as planned, but with Brendan and Henry on the run, and various family members in pursuit, it is anything but dull; Brendan, through his last capricious act, serves as the catalyst to set errant family members on the right path again. Barrett ( The Middle Kingdom , LJ 2/1/91) combines family dissension and adventure with healthy doses of faith and optimism. The result is a satisfying analysis of family dysfunction in the spirit of Sue Miller.-- Thomas L. Kilpatrick, Southern Illinois Univ. at Carbondale Lib.
Jennifer Howard
If any group of mortals knows how it feels to be expelled from paradise, it's the Auberon clan, the appealingly wretched family in Andrea Barrett's fourth novel....Ms. Barrett nicely details the quiet agonies of people who have fallen from grace through bad luck and worse judgment, and suggests that if you can't regain paradise, you can at least make peace with its loss. -- New York Times

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780671795221
Publisher:
Washington Square Press
Publication date:
08/01/1994
Edition description:
Reissue
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
898,577
Product dimensions:
0.68(w) x 5.50(h) x 8.50(d)

What People are saying about this

Mark Childress
"Of all the writers in the present generation, I can think of no one who's better at exploring the crystaline structures of human relations than Andrea Barrett. The lady has a very powerful microscope. The Forms of Water is just lovely -- deeply funny, deeply serious, and wise."
Francine Prose
"Something about Andrea Barrett's writing, her honesty, her patience with -- and wyre compassion for -- her characters makes one wish that more novels were as engaging or just as well as well-written as The Forms of Water."
Pinckney Benedict
"Intelligent and elegiac...a winning novel."

Meet the Author

Andrea Barrett is the author of Archangel, The Air We Breathe, Servants of the Map (finalist for the Pulitzer Prize), The Voyage of the Narwhal, Ship Fever (winner of the National Book Award), and other books. She teaches at Williams College and lives in northwestern Massachusetts.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Date of Birth:
November 16, 1954
Place of Birth:
Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Education:
B.A., Union College
Website:
http://www.wwnorton.com/catalog/fall01/004348.htm

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