I picked "The Water Cure" as one of four books to read from the 2018 Man Booker Longlist. I liked the speculative fiction premise of young women, raised in isolation in a post-apocalyptic world, encountering men for the first time and having to reconsider what they think they know.
I get the need to pace the book so that I can FEEL the stifling effects on the sisters of isolation and ignorance combined with forced ritual intimacy, but enough already.
I began to feel as if I were trapped in the middle of a front row at "Waiting For Godot" and I'm so embarrassed by what other people will think of me that I stay in my seat long after my boredom threatens to be terminal and I suspect Beckett of being a sadist with a wicked sense of humour.
I made it as far as the twenty-five percent mark because the voices of the sisters were strong and distinct and because I could no more look away from the spectacle of the Bennet sisters transported to an island where they are subjected to abuse that they've educated to understand as sympathetic magic, than I could look away from a building about to be demolished by well-placed charges.
I'd hoped that the arrival of the men would change the pace but it didn't and I finally admitted to myself that I was reading this book because it was "worthy" rather than because I was getting anything out of it. I'd promised myself I wouldn't do that anymore so I abandoned "The Water Cure" at twenty-five per cent mark.
It may win the Mann Booker prize but it didn't make a place for itself in my imagination.
Click on the SoundCloud link below to hear a sample of the book.
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