Waterline (Paperback)

A Novel

By Ross Raisin

Harper Perennial, 9780062103970, 288pp.

Publication Date: February 7, 2012

Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (8/1/2011)

List Price: 14.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.


From Ross Raisin, the highly acclaimed author of Out Backward—a debut novel Colm Tóibín called “compelling, disturbing and often very funny”—comes the moving and story of an ex-shipyard worker’s journey of grief and reclamation in the wake of his wife’s death. Lyrical and resonant, with echoes of Paul Harding’s Tinkers and Anne Enright’s The Gathering, Raisin’s blue collar story of a man’s fractured search for a new beginning is a powerfully voiced, penetratingly personal narrative of alienation and, ultimately, redemption.

“Ross Raisin confirms himself as an exciting talent, a unique, gifted, and generous voice, a young writer with a vision broad far beyond his years.” —David Vann, Financial Times

About the Author

Ross Raisin is the author of Out Backward, winner of the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award, a Betty Trask Award, and other honors. He lives in London.

Praise For Waterline: A Novel

“A standout….Evocative…. strong echoes of George Orwell’s classic, Down and Out in Paris and London.”
— Maureen Corrigan, NPR's Fresh Air

“Heartbreaking…. Waterline is a great read, and Mick’s story is one you won’t forget. With this second novel, Ross Raisin confirms himself as an exciting talent, a unique, gifted, and generous voice, a young writer with a vision broad far beyond his years.”
— David Vann, Financial Times

“A powerful depiction of the dislocating effects of grief....genuinely moving.”
— Publishers Weekly

“What impresses about Raisin is the all-encompassing nature of his imaginative empathy, and the way in which he makes the reader complicit in his character’s fate . . . Electric.”
— Andrew Holgate, Sunday Times (London)

“Waterline announces Raisin as a profound thinker as well as a distinctive voice.”
— Esquire (UK)

“Raisin is shaping up to be one of our most extraordinary writers.”
— Catherine Taylor, Telegraph (UK)

“The vernacular is only one aspect of the vitality and inventiveness of Raisin’s writing…. A writer of outstanding talent and it will be fascinating to see what he comes up with next.”
— Peter Carty, Independent (UK)

“Ross Raisin’s debut, God’s Own Country, was deservedly acclaimed, and Waterline is similarly impressive, with Raisin again making vivid, compelling use of the vernacular…. It remains to the last supremely empathic, and Raisin’s powers of observation intense.”
— Stephanie Cross, Daily Mail (UK)

“Ross Raisin’s story of how a disturbed but basically well-intentioned rural youngster turns into a malevolent sociopath is both chilling in its effect and convincing in its execution.”
— J. M. Coetzee for Out Backward

Out Backward more [than A Clockwork Orange] convincingly registers the internal logic of unredeemable delinquency, a dangerous subjectivity that perverts compassion and sees everything as an extension of itself.”
— Washington Post Book World for Out Backward

“Utterly frightening and electrifying.”
— Joshua Ferris for Out Backward

“A few pages with Sam Marsdyke are unforgettable. Rare are the writers who can create such a funny yet terrifying narrator; the comparison is the murderous Francie Brady in Patrick McCabe’s classic The Butcher Boy…. Deeply unsettling, yet far from a grim read…well worth a visit.”
— Financial Times for Out Backward

“[A] lyrical debut….The Yorkshire dialect and a stream-of-consciousness narration…lend an air of authority to this tightly plotted and disturbing effort.”
— Publishers Weekly for Out Backward

“The first thing you’ll notice about Raisin’s debut novel, Out Backward, is its Yorkshire-farmer dialogue. The second thing you’ll notice is that its teen narrator is a spying, sneaky sociopath…. if you stick around, you’ll get a concentrated dose of evil.”
— Time Out New York for Out Backward

— Kirkus Reviews for Out Backward

“The bony grip exerted by debut London novelist Ross Raisin’s Out Backward is muscled by voice…. [The book] reads like a long ballad sung by a lonesome madman.”
— Toronto Star for Out Backward

“Recalls the visceral lyricism of Irvine Welsh…a rewarding—if somewhat disturbing—tale of fear, obsession, and sexuality.”
— School Library Journal for Out Backward

“[Out Backward] will grab you….Sam has a lot to say about the class system, apparently still the bane of Britain…. The ending of ‘Out Backward’ leaves open the possibility of a sequel. And the possibility seems curiously pleasing.”
— St. Louis Post Dispatch for Out Backward

“This is a near-perfectly executed book, seamlessly constructed.”
— Brooklyn Rail for Out Backward

“A mature, taut and beautifully written study of a perennial outsider.”
— Sunday Times (London) for Out Backward

“Compelling…. An entirely original voice…Marsdyke, who blends colloquialism with flights of verbal fancy, is like no other character in contemporary fiction…. He is both very funny and very disturbing.”
— The Sunday Times (London) for Out Backward

“It’s Marsdyke’s voice that is Raisin’s most extraordinary and original achievement, a fabulously onomatopoeic patois woven from the language of the Yorkshire farmyard; a stream of consciousness that slides between the comic and the sinister…. Raisin is one to watch; controlled, mature and compelling, this is a masterful debut.”
— The Observer for Out Backward

“Spend just a few pages in the company of Sam Marsdyke…and it’s an unforgettable experience. Rare are the writers who have created such a funny yet terrifying narrator; the instant comparison is Francie Bradie in Patrick McCabe’s classic The Butcher Boy.”
— Bookseller for Out Backward

“A first novel…with panache…. Engaging. Raisin’s achievement in creating and sustaining such a richly distinctive narrative voice is considerable.”
— The Independent for Out Backward

“Excellent…. Sam is endowed with a richly lyrical narrative voice and an extravagant vocabulary…. He is also extremely entertaining company…. A wonderfully unique novel - a comic commentary on rural decline and a deeply unsettling character study.”
— The Sunday Telegraph for Out Backward

“It is a joy to read for the dialect alone, a linguistic feast…. Sam’s is such a fantastically vivid voice that it’s not surprising reality pales in comparison—that’s part of his problem. It’s also what makes God’s Own Country such an absorbing read, and Raisin a young writer to watch.”
— The Guardian for Out Backward

— Sunday Times (London) for Out Backward

“In Sam Marsdyke, Raisin has created a truly memorable and distinctive voice. It’s a very impressive debut.”
— Daily Mail for Out Backward

“A very strong debut.”
— The Spectator for Out Backward

“The hero of Ross Raisin’s God’s Own Country told his tale of town versus country in an impressively angry, highly individual voice.”
— Telegraph for Out Backward

— Rachel Nolan, New York Times Book Review

“Raisin works magic with bleak and disturbing material….In Raisin’s hands the story is magnetic….Without ever hitting a preachy note, here is a book that makes homelessness human, sometimes even funny.”
— Dafna Izenberg, Maclean's

“An indelible portrait of a man in grief….adds up to a portrait of grief that as haunting as it is elegant - and yet it somehow manages to crackle with energy at the same time.”
— Michael Hingston, Globe and Mail (Toronto)

“Superb….Spectacularly moving and accomplished.”
— Julia Keller, Chicago Tribune