“Intelligent and elegiac… [a] winning novel.” — The Washington Post
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 considerably more complicated.
With a sharp eye for the complexities of family life, The Forms of Water is a rich and absorbing look at grief and the ties that continue to bind us to the past.
“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… 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 Book Review
“Subtle and strong… Barrett’s talents shine… Barrett not only gets the geographical terrain right, she has the emotional terrain down as well.” — Detroit News
“Barrett returns with her speciality – 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.” — Kirkus