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The Seduction of Water (Ballantine Reader's Circle)
by Carol Goodman

Published: 2003-01-01
Kindle Edition : 400 pages
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Iris Greenfeder, ABD (All But Dissertation), feels the “buts” are taking over her life: all but published, all but a professor, all but married. Yet the sudden impulse to write a story about her mother, Katherine Morrissey, leads to a shot at literary success. The piece recounts an ...
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Introduction

Iris Greenfeder, ABD (All But Dissertation), feels the “buts” are taking over her life: all but published, all but a professor, all but married. Yet the sudden impulse to write a story about her mother, Katherine Morrissey, leads to a shot at literary success. The piece recounts an eerie Irish fairy tale her mother used to tell her at bedtime—and nestled inside it is the sad story of her death. It captures the attention of her mother’s former literary agent, who is convinced that Katherine wrote one final manuscript before her strange, untimely end in a fire thirty years ago. So Iris goes back to the remote Hotel Equinox in the Catskills, the place where she grew up, to write her mother’s biography and search for the missing manuscript—and there she unravels a haunting mystery, one that holds more secrets than she ever expected. . . .


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Review

Carol Goodman's admirable second novel, The Seduction of Water, has much in common with her bestselling debut, The Lake of Dead Languages. Both feature heroines who are at crossroads in their lives and who choose to move backward and inward. In the first novel, the main character returns to teach at the woodsy private school where she had been a scholarship student, triggering the horrible repetition of the violence that had marred her senior year. In The Seduction of Water, the heroine returns to the woodsy hotel in the Catskills where her parents had worked, in the hope of uncovering her dead mother's secrets. Somehow, the book doesn't feel like a reiteration of the earlier novel, perhaps because the tone throughout is lighter and more sure.

Iris Greenfeder is a 36-year-old barely published New York writer and teacher whose long-term boyfriend, an artist, sees her schedule as strict and therefore will not spend the night, because he likes to get up and paint first thing every morning. When one of Iris's stories about her mother is picked up by a small literary journal with a well-connected editor, things start to happen for her. She becomes convinced that a summer out of the city, working as manager of the old hotel, will give her the perfect setting in which to pen a memoir of her writer mother, as well as an opportunity to look for the rumored manuscript of her mother's final book. But there are those who are just as determined to keep the dead woman's secrets in the grave. Only mildly suspenseful, and relying too much on coincidence, The Seduction of Water isn't the page-turner that Goodman's debut was, but patient readers may find it a richer and more satisfying novel overall. --Regina Marler

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  "A perfect combination of fiction and fantasy"by nbaker (see profile) 01/29/18

At the age of only ten, Iris lost her mother in a fire that yielded more clouds of smoke encircled in mystery and unanswered questions than it did flames from the smoldering building. Her m... (read more)

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