Yesterday, the highly anticipated debut novel from Sophie Mackintosh finally hit the shelves. We’re so excited we finally get to share The Water Cure, which Margaret Atwood called a “gripping, sinister fable,” with you.
King has tenderly staked out a territory for his wife and three daughters, Grace, Lia, and Sky. He has lain the barbed wire; he has anchored the buoys in the water; he has marked out a clear message: Do not enter. Or viewed from another angle: Not safe to leave. Here women are protected from the chaos and violence of men on the mainland. The cult-like rituals and therapies they endure fortify them from the spreading toxicity of a degrading world.
But when their father, the only man they’ve ever seen, disappears, they retreat further inward until the day two men and a boy wash ashore. Over the span of one blistering hot week, a psychological cat-and-mouse game plays out. Sexual tensions and sibling rivalries flare as the sisters confront the amorphous threat the strangers represent. Can they survive the men?
A haunting, riveting debut about the capacity for violence and the potency of female desire, The Water Cure both devastates and astonishes as it reflects our own world back at us.
Nominated for the Man Booker Prize, The Water Cure is a dystopian coming-of-age story that is brought to life in a world built around one question: what if masculinity were literally toxic? Pick up a copy today at your local bookshop or order one online to find the answer.
Advance Praise for The Water Cure
“In most apocalyptic tales, the reader is expected to accept certain baseline assumptions. The first is that the apocalypse is real; the second, that the story’s main characters represent its truest victims. Sophie Mackintosh subverts both of these assumptions in her sumptuous yet sparsely written debut.”— The New York Times Book Review
“‘The Water Cure,’ […] joins a growing wave of female-centered dystopian fiction, futuristic works that raise uncomfortable questions about pervasive gender inequality, misogyny and violence against women, the erosion of reproductive rights and the extreme consequences of institutionalized sexism.”— The New York Times
“Ingenious and incendiary, “The Water Cure” is less a warning about the way we live now, the hazardous path society is careering down, than it is about the way we have always lived, parents and children, fathers and daughters, men and women. As the sisters put it, when they are again able to speak as one, “The safe place had been contaminated from the start.”— The New Yorker
“Mackintosh braids together a complicated analysis of women’s suffering through individual voices as well as that of a chorus. Stressing the authenticity of women’s perspectives, she builds her narrative through subtle but determined means.”— The Observer
Esquire’s 25 Most Anticipated Books of 2019
More from Sophie Mackintosh
Marooned on “Love Island” — The New York Times Modern Love column
Sophie Mackintosh Vs. The Toxic Male—Interview for SSENSE
Toxic Masculinity is Making Women Physically Ill—Interview for Electric Lit