To Heaven by Water
By Justin Cartwright
(Bloomsbury USA, Paperback, 9781596916210, 320pp.)
Publication Date: August 4, 2009
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With the subtlety of Ian McEwan and the pathos of Kazuo Ishiguro, a wise, compassionate novel about age, loss, and moving forward.
As he moves toward old age, David Cross finds himself living an unexpected new life. Having lost his wife, Nancy, to illness, and retired from his job as a prominent television news anchor, David is working out in the gym and becoming very thin. His children, Ed and Lucy, embarking on careers and lives on their own, suspect him of being on the lookout for a new woman. He cannot tell them that he is, in some ways, happier than he was before Nancy died.
As Ed and his dancer wife, Rosalie, struggle to conceive a child and Lucy seeks refuge from a chaotic ex-boyfriend, all of them are now forced to face their lives without the woman who was the center of the family. With their personal lives spinning out of control, they each must find a way to hold firm. And when David goes to see his estranged brother deep in the African desert, he will come to an unexpected, meaningful, and life-affirming epiphany.
Filled with rich characterization, warm humor, and shocking surprises, "To Heaven by Water "is a masterwork of great subtlety, a moving novel from a keen observer of life as we live it now.
Justin Cartwright’s novels include In Every Face I Meet, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize; the acclaimed bestseller The Promise of Happiness; White Lightning, which was shortlisted for the Whitbread Novel Award; and the 1999 Whitbread winner Leading the Cheers. H is most recent novel, The Song Before It Is Sung, was published by Bloomsbury in 2007 and won the prestigious London Jewish Council Award for Literature. He was born in South Africa and now lives in London.