From the acclaimed writer of Bodies of Light and The Tidal Zone, Summerwater is a relative piece of work that resonates with anyone that has ever spent a Summer in Scotland. On the longest day of the summer, twelve people sit cooped up with their families in a faded Scottish cabin park. The endless rain leaves them with little to do but watch the other residents, and reflect on the situation with a sly humour that adds depth to the novel.
A woman goes running up the Ben as if fleeing; a retired couple reminisce about neighbours long since moved on; a teenage boy braves the dark waters of the loch in his red kayak. Each person is wrapped in their own cares but increasingly alert to the makeshift community around them. One particular family, a mother and daughter without the right clothes or the right manners, starts to draw the attention of the others. Tensions rise and all watch on, unaware of the tragedy that lies ahead as night finally falls.
Summerwater is the a stunning piece of prose, and yet vividly paints a very distinct picture that Sarah Moss is renowned for with her previous novels. With haunting and atmospheric elements, this is a piece of work quite obviously written by someone who has spent a great deal of Summers in Scotland, with that understanding and realisation of those days spent inside due to the relentless wet days.
With a structure similar to a short story collection with characters that you feel a little detached from, it is often questionable that this is indeed a novel. However, the stunning writing pulls you in, and makes it almost impossible to put down. Like a short story collection, some chapters are more riveting than others, and some characters more likeable and some more mundane. However, Moss does not disappoint with this novel and there is much to get from this. Another intriguing and crisp, fresh read from Sarah Moss.
Summerwater is out now, published by Picador