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Publisher's Summary

A National Bestseller

Fifteen years after the publication of Evidence of Things Unseen, National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize finalist Marianne Wiggins returns with a novel destined to be an American classic: a sweeping masterwork set during World War II about the meaning of family and the limitations of the American Dream.

Rockwell “Rocky” Rhodes has spent years fiercely protecting his California ranch from the LA Water Corporation. It is here where he and his beloved wife Lou raised their twins, Sunny and Stryker, and it is here where Rocky has mourned Lou in the years since her death.

As Sunny and Stryker reach the cusp of adulthood, the country teeters on the brink of war. Stryker decides to join the fight, deploying to Pearl Harbor not long before the bombs strike. Soon, Rocky and his family find themselves facing yet another incomprehensible tragedy.

Rocky is determined to protect his remaining family and the land where they’ve loved and lost so much. But when the government decides to build a Japanese-American internment camp next to the ranch, Rocky realizes that the land faces even bigger threats than the LA watermen he’s battled for years. Complicating matters is the fact that the idealistic Department of the Interior man assigned to build the camp, who only begins to understand the horror of his task after it may be too late, becomes infatuated with Sunny and entangled with the Rhodes family.

Properties of Thirst is a novel that is both universal and intimate. It is the story of a changing American landscape and an examination of one of the darkest periods in this country’s past, told through the stories of the individual loves and losses that weave together to form the fabric of our shared history. Ultimately, it is an unflinching distillation of our nation’s essence—and a celebration of the bonds of love and family that persist against all odds.

©2022 Marianne Wiggins (P)2022 Simon & Schuster, Inc.

What listeners say about Properties of Thirst

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Interesting knowledgeable book

Enjoyed this book so much. The characters became real and you felt involved so much interesting information about the internment of the Japanese citizens and the expense and money involved. Excellent book.

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the male narrator didn't work for me

3.5 stars

I'm glad I read the book even though it was a bit slow at times. I started listening to it on audible, but he narrators (particularly the male narrator) just didn't do it for me. So, I read half of it on kindle.

I loved the story line. I was completely unaware of the history of Owens Lake and the implications of its drying up. The NY times and WSJ just recently (summer 2022) had articles about the great Salt Lake, and compared its looming demise to that of Owens Lake. The descriptions of the Japanese internment camp really brought the issue home. The multiple character story lines were all interesting. Did anyone else notice how many of the characters were S names ( Schiff, Stevo, Snow, Sunny, Stryker?) It made It a little hard for me to remember who was who, but I suspect there was some reason for it.

However, I found the book a bit slow. There was too much about food, harp playing and a little too much ponderous reflection for me. Some things really came together in the end. But on other issues, there were things that needed to be figured out by the reader: why Stryker didn’t communicate with his twin, why Sunny didn’t write to Schiff for 2 years, some clarification on the process Sunny used to locate Emerson.. I’d rather have those topics covered in the 555 pages rather than seemingly endless paragraphs about cooking and harp playing.

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Exceptional

Loved this novel. Characters richly developed. Historical fiction as background concerning Japanese internment camps during WW II was fascinating even as it portrayed a difficult part of our history. Plot was brilliantly designed and intricately woven. A great read.

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BEST BOOK OF 2022

I cannot recommend this book more highly...a must read for anyone who loves beautiful language and exquisite storytelling! I look forward to re-reading Properties of Thirst!

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  • RE
  • 08-12-22

An Epic Sweeping Novel

Truthful and telling novel of our Nations not so kind History. A dark time in our nation's history told in the lives of those who struggled and the story of a blight in California's history. Well told and gripping.