Sarah Moss is a writer of rare accomplishment whose mastery of the messy complexities of the interior monologue is pitch-perfect. ‘Summerwater’ is an intense, beautifully-written, and devastating story, set over a 24-hour period in a faded Scottish cabin park.
As the rain hammers down outside, in short vignettes we are introduced to the inhabitants of the holiday cabins; a woman goes running up the Ben as if fleeing; a teenage boy chances the dark waters of the loch in his kayak; a retired couple head out despite the downpour, driving too fast on the familiar bends…. Nobody has any phone signal, and the world feels very far away, leading to a claustrophobic sense of dread… we know something bad is going to happen, but to whom.. and when?
There are tender moments – Moss is an astute observer of family life and domestic tensions, there is acerbic humour, there are moments of limpid beauty in her observations of nature, and bubbling throughout, the tensions between this group of strangers simmer and then boil over…. No more spoilers – you HAVE TO read it!