The Waters

Recorded Books. Jan. 2024. 14:40 hrs. ISBN 9798891781641. $24.99. F
Hermine Zook (a.k.a. “Herself”), a long-time formulator of herbal medicines, lives on an island in Western Michigan’s Massasauga swamp. Two of her daughters have left home, and the third, a magnetic and almost magical figure, leaves for California after she is raped. She returns briefly after her daughter Dorothy is born and hands the infant over to Hermine. Growing up homeschooled, Dorothy learns to read and write and proves to be a mathematical genius. Her world abounds in secrets and mysteries that she does not understand and often misinterprets. At age 11, she is forced to act as her grandmother’s right hand after Herself loses her own right hand. Dorothy longs for a father and a stable family but seems destined to have neither. When Dorothy’s mother returns, delivering another baby literally on the doorstep, inevitable changes are set in motion. With a warm tone, actor Lili Taylor gives voice to Campbell’s backwoods community of religious men and independent women steeped in local folklore and superstition. Taylor’s narration engages, but her breathy voice and short phrasing give her delivery an odd, off-putting rhythm.
VERDICT National Book Award finalist Campbell (American Salvage), a Michigander, has done the research necessary to make this story realistic and compelling.
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