• Summerwater

  • A Novel
  • By: Sarah Moss
  • Narrated by: Morven Christie
  • Length: 4 hrs and 27 mins
  • 3.9 out of 5 stars (131 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

2021 NPR Best Book of the Year
2020 The Times Literary Supplement Books of the Year
2020 The Guardian (UK) Best Books of the Year

"[Morven] Christie's narration keeps listeners rapt while maintaining rhythm with the action, be it a runner's stride, lovers' desire, a child's watchfulness. The result is a memorable marriage of remarkable fiction and outstanding performance." (AudioFile magazine, Earphones Award winner)

The acclaimed author of Ghost Wall offers a new, devastating, masterful novel of subtle menace

They rarely speak to each other, but they take notice - watching from the safety of their cabins, peering into the half-lit drizzle of a Scottish summer day, making judgments from what little they know of their temporary neighbors. On the longest day of the year, the hours pass nearly imperceptibly as twelve people go from being strangers to bystanders to allies, their attention forced into action as tragedy sneaks into their lives.

At daylight, a mother races up the mountain, fleeing into her precious dose of solitude. A retired man studies her return as he reminisces about the park’s better days. A young woman wonders about his politics as she sees him head for a drive with his wife, and tries to find a moment away from her attentive boyfriend. A teenage boy escapes the scrutiny of his family, braving the dark waters of the loch in a kayak. This cascade of perspective shows each wrapped up in personal concerns, unknown to each other, as they begin to notice one particular family that doesn’t seem to belong. Tensions rise, until nightfall brings an irrevocable turn.

From Sarah Moss, the acclaimed author of Ghost Wall - a “riveting” (Alison Hagy, The New York Times Book Review) “sharp tale of suspense” (Margaret Tablot, The New Yorker), Summerwater is a searing exploration of our capacity for kinship and cruelty, and a gorgeous evocation of the natural world that bears eternal witness.  

A Macmillan Audio production from Farrar, Straus and Giroux

“Sharp, searching, thoroughly imagined, Summerwater is utterly of the moment, placing its anxious human dots against a vast, indifferent landscape; with its wit and verve and beautiful organization, it throws much contemporary writing into the shade!” (Hilary Mantel, author of The Mirror & the Light)

©2021 Sarah Moss (P)2021 Macmillan Audio

Critic Reviews

"Sharp, searching, thoroughly imagined, Summerwater is utterly of the moment, placing its anxious human dots against a vast indifferent landscape; with its wit and verve and beautiful organization it throws much contemporary writing into the shade!" (Hilary Mantel)

What listeners say about Summerwater

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Beautifully written and beautifully read.

Tender, acerbic, funny, this is a book consisting of the internal monologues of a number of people, women and men, observing each other though never really interacting as they spend their vacations in cabins in a rain-drenched Scottish holiday camp. It is a story of modern middle-class England, and while politics and Brexit are never mentioned, they sit at the core this wonderful novel. This is the first Sarah Moss novel I have come across and I look forward to more.

10 people found this helpful

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Love this One!

Sarah Moss has such a poetic way of conveying her stories, I've definitely become a fan of hers. Love this one and Morven Christie does a superb job of narrating!

2 people found this helpful

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Great descriptions, confusing story

Broccoli, I enjoyed this work. I appreciate it the story from all the different angles. However, I found myself going back and listening to a couple of chapters to figure out what it happened after I listen to the final chapter. I really loved the detailed descriptions given by each character and the sense of place is really evident in this storytelling. However the connecting tissue of the story itself is sadly lacking.

Please excuse evident typos in this review. It was dictated using voice to text.

2 people found this helpful

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Wonderful chemistry between author and narrator

Superbly atmospheric writing brought beautifully to life by the matching insightful and sensitive narration. I did not want it to end.

2 people found this helpful

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Couldn’t wait for it to end

Frustrating plot line and the story ended oddly it was on audio so I listen to the whole thing but at the end I question my sanity to do that

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Many stories, no purpose

It felt like there were some characters that could have been interesting and I could have been pulled into their stories but it just never got there. the ending left me feeling like I forgot a chapter at the end.