Let Me Feel Like Water is a contemporary novel that celebrates friendship found after a young woman reaches great depths of despair.
Holly escapes her life in London to live in Brighton. She is surviving hour by hour, wracked by grief over the death of her boyfriend.
Seventy year old Frank is an ex-magician and a collector of broken people. He befriends Holly, gives her something else to think about, offers an easy friendship and invites her to his book club. Here she meets the other members, each with their own story to tell.
This is Holly’s journey; some days she’s lonely, other days she prefers solitude. Sometimes she can’t stay still, running to the point of exhaustion. Another day she swims in the cold sea where she considers ending it all. Life in Brighton offers escape, anonymity and time to heal. The narrative is raw and, at times, haunting and sad.
This is a captivating story. The author does a good job drip-feeding information in the beginning, reeling in her audience. As the story continues, we’re given just enough information to form our own pictures, but it kept me guessing and wanting to turn the pages; the technique is clever and works well. When I think back I have loads of questions about the secondary characters, but this is Holly’s story. She has experienced much tragedy; for her there is no happy-ever-after but perhaps a distant glow of hope.
A book about the gritty side of real life, this book may leave you with questions, but it gave me a lot to think about.
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Holly moved to Brighton to escape her grief over the death of her boyfriend, Sam. But now she is here, sitting on a bench, listening to the sea sway… what is supposed to happen next?
She had thought she’d want to be on her own. Wrecked. Stranded. But after she meets Frank, the tide begins to shift. Frank, a retired magician who has experienced his own loss but manages to be there for everyone else. Gradually, as he introduces Holly to a circle of new friends, young and old, all with their own stories of love and grief to share, she begins to learn to live again.
A moving and powerful debut which combines the emotional pull of Maggie O’Farrell with the lyrical beauty of Sarah Perry, Let Me Be Like Water is a book simultaneously about nothing and everything: about the humdrum yet extraordinariness of everyday life; of lost and new connections; of loneliness and friendship.