Nov 28

Drowning Ruth

Drowning Ruth

by Christina Schwarz


Picture 3Fiction
First Published in 2000
Publisher: Doubleday Publishing
Set in: Wisconsin, USA.
Part of Oprah’s Book Club
International Bestseller

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Book cover Synopsis:

At the close of World War One, Amanda Starkey leaves the city and travels to her family farm in rural Wisconsin to recover from a traumatic love affair. Instead, she is caught up in a tragedy that will take her beloved sister’s life, and leave Amanda to raise her niece Ruth. What happened the terrible night when Mattie died? Why does Ruth say she can remember drowning? For years the consequences of the tragedy reverberate; the truth, when it is revealed, is both dramatic and extraordinarily moving.

bunnyWhy I love this book:

It’s been a long time since I’ve been so hooked on a novel, and I’m pretty sure this is the fastest I’ve ever read a book. I plowed through Drowning Ruth, finishing it in 3 days – I’m generally a slow reader, usually taking at least a week and a half to finish a book. So if speed is an indicator, Drowning Ruth gets an A+.

I would have expected the way that the mystery around Mathilda’s death unravels, so slowly, throughout the course of the book to be frustrating, but I enjoyed not knowing. The story around the mystery moves at a pace where you’re intrigued by the characters and their changing relationships, just as much as you are with the over arching through-line surrounding Mathilda’s death. Mathilda’s death sets the story rolling, the secrets around why and how she drowned are compelling, but the consequences in the years that follow and the journey that Amanda the sister, Carl the husband, and Ruth the daughter experience, are in a sense, more the heart of the story.

Schwarz’s setting is so vivid and strangely charming that I feel I know the farm, the lake and the pivotal little island that Amanda found and claimed as her own.

The perspective of the story moves between Amanda, Ruth and the omniscient observer fluidly, each revealing pearls of unique insight. I loved this shift in view that let us peer into the feelings and contradictions of the characters in this tense world of longing for a dead loved one, that leaves the three surviving characters shrouded in a sense of the incomplete.

Speedy or not, this novel was fascinating.

x Julie

Book Reviews

- Reading Like Rabbits

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  1. nuruL H. says:

    i’ve been in love and am still in love with this book. i finished it feeling having uncovered something. it was lovely :)

    • juliewee says:

      I totally agree with you Nurul. I must get on to reading other books by Christina Schwarz. I think she’s written 2 others.