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The Water Cure
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Dreamlike and compulsive, a blazing literary debut about love, violence and survival at any cost. For fans of Hot Milk, The Girls and The Handmaid's Tale.

About the Author

Sophie Mackintosh won the 2016 White Review Short Story Prize and the 2016 Virago/Stylist Short Story competition, and has been published in Granta magazine and TANK magazine among others. The Water Cure is her first novel.

Reviews

In raw, visceral prose, Mackintosh probes at ideas of the threat of male violence, the ways women are told to protect ourselves, love and sisterhood and survival. A hypnotic, stormy book, with one of my favourite endings I've read in a long while * The Pool *
A feminist dystopian fairy tale, a sexual coming-of-age story and a survival-of-the-fittest tale. Evocative, suspenseful and bleak - in short, everything this age seems to be demanding * NPR *
Bewitching... [An] ambiguous utopia * Guardian *
Stunning... A haunting story of abuse, death, and desire... Chilling and topical, a breathtaking debut * Dazed *
Eerily beautiful, this strange, unsettling novel creeps up and grabs hold of you -- Paula Hawkins, author of 'The Girl on the Train'
Darkly gratifying, dreamy, primal, and arresting [as] a fairy tale... The overgrown grounds, with their perimeter of rusty barbed wire and shark-infested waters, resemble Sleeping Beauty's castle * New Yorker *
Searing, richly drawn, eerily compelling... As foreboding in what it holds back as in what it reveals * Stylist *
Elemental... [A] utopia portrayed in spectral, organic prose... Mackintosh is a wonderful stylist; the full scope of her imagination, as well as the cohesion of her vision, is evident on every page... A seriously impressive feat * Irish Times *
An extraordinary debut... Otherworldly, luminous, precise * Guardian *
Bold, inventive, haunting... With shades of Margaret Atwood and Eimear McBride, you'll be bowled over by it * Stylist (61 Books to Read This Spring) *
The Water Cure is eerily still and pure - with saline bite... Mackintosh asks if it is the traumas of our pasts that ultimately pose the greatest threat to our futures * New Statesman *
Powerfully unsettling, immensely assured, calmly devastating. It conjures a world both alien and familiar, exploring the physical and psychological cruelties enacted on women, by men, in the name of their protection, and the noble and ignoble uses to which anger can be put in a perverse world. This is a gem of a novel, and I was bowled over by it -- Katherine Angel, author of 'Unmastered'
Electric [and] beautifully strange... Her novel is an exercise in minimalism * Times Literary Supplement *
A hypnotic read... This extraordinary debut is a feminist, quasi-dystopian read - great for fans of Hot Milk, The Girls and The Vegetarian * Elle *
A work of cool, claustrophobic beauty. Sophie Mackintosh writes devastatingly well about the complexities that women face in loving men, and in loving each other -- Eli Goldstone, author of 'Strange Heart Beating'
Uneasy, mythic, lawless... The atmospheric landscapes cloak trauma and violence in wisps of uncertainty, where bad feelings coalesce as both presciently felt and strangely unknowable * Frieze *
Otherworldly, brutal and poetic: a feminist fable set by the sea, a utopia gone awry, a female Lord of the Flies. It transported me, savaged me, filled me with hope and fear. It felt like a book I'd been waiting to read for a long time -- Emma Jane Unsworth, author of 'Animals'
[A] lyrical debut, original and very atmospheric * Good Housekeeping *
Eerie, electric, beautiful. It rushes you through to the end on a tide of tension and closely held panic. I loved this book -- Daisy Johnson, author of 'Fen'
Creepy and delightful, a portrayal of post-apocalyptic puberty, intermingling desire and despair. It has a pinch of Shirley Jackson, a dash of chlorine, and an essence all of its own -- Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, author of 'Harmless Like You'
Powerful, mythic, seductively sinister... Her alternative world is as carefully imagined as one of Margaret Atwood's... [Sophie Mackintosh] is a writer to be reckoned with * Book Oxygen *
Eerie and unsettling, the novel exerts a hypnotic grip as the tension builds * Daily Mail *
A superb debut * i *
The Water Cure deserves a Sofia Coppola-style big-screen treatment, although its cultish overtones and sinister denouement are as reminiscent of The Wicker Man as The Virgin Suicides * The Literary Review *

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