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In this brilliant, luminous novel, one of our finest realist writers gives us a story of surpassing depth and emotional power. Acclaimed for her lucid and compassionate exploration of the American family, Roxana Robinson sets her new work on familiar terrain—New York City and the Adirondacks—but with Sweetwater she transcends the particulars of the domestic sphere with a broader, more encompassing vision. In this poignant account of a young widow and her second marriage, Robinson expands her scope to include the larger natural world as well as the smaller, more intimate one of the home. Isabel Green’s marriage to Paul Simmons, after the death of her first husband, marks her reconnection to life—a venture she’s determined will succeed. But this proves to be harder than she’d anticipated, and the challenges of starting afresh seem more complicated in adulthood. Staying at the Simmons lodge for their annual summer visit, Isabel finds herself entering into a set of familial complexities. She struggles to understand her new husband, his elderly, difficult parents and his brother, whose relationship with Paul seems oddly fraught. Furthermore, her second marriage begins to cast into sharp relief the troubling echoes of her first. Isabel’s professional life plays a part as well: a passionate environmental advocate, she is aware of the tensions within the mountain landscape itself during a summer of spectacular beauty and ominous drought.In her cool, elegant prose, Robinson gracefully delivers a plot that is complex, surprising and ultimately wrenching in its impact. As the strands of family are woven tightly and inevitably together, and as the past painfully informs the present, the vivid backdrop of the physical world provides its own eloquent dynamic. Sweetwater is a stunning achievement by a writer at the peak of her craft.From the Hardcover edition.
Published: Random House Publishing Group an imprint of Random House Publishing Group on May 13, 2003
ISBN: 9780307431882
List price: $11.99
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The writing was instantly compelling. The detailed descriptions of the emotional twists and turns were enough to make you physically there, feeling them too. There are related/layered stories Isabel is handling. My only tiny problem with the book was the missing years at the end! I want to know all that happened during the in-between expanse of time before the epilogue!!!!read more
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Somewhat tiresome. The author tried to tell too many stories at once.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Very good till the melodramatic Iris Murdoch ending. About a woman's two failed marriages, told in alternating sections.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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Reviews

The writing was instantly compelling. The detailed descriptions of the emotional twists and turns were enough to make you physically there, feeling them too. There are related/layered stories Isabel is handling. My only tiny problem with the book was the missing years at the end! I want to know all that happened during the in-between expanse of time before the epilogue!!!!
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Somewhat tiresome. The author tried to tell too many stories at once.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Very good till the melodramatic Iris Murdoch ending. About a woman's two failed marriages, told in alternating sections.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Roxana Robinson has become one of my favorite authors. Sweetwater does not disappoint. Isabel seems perfectly real to me. She blames herself for not "curing" her first husband's mental illness, and then for "causing" his suicide by telling him that she's leaving him. Her second husband Paul is unreasonably jealous and untrusting, but it's his flaw, not hers, yet she again feels guilty (with perhaps some very slight reason) for breaking his heart. The beautiful descriptions of the Adirondacks, the parallel story of impinging environmental disaster, and the secondary characters of Isabel's in-laws made the story jump to life. I liked it very much.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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