Water Cure
Sophie Mackintosh

Book cover image

Narrated By: Hannah Murray, Gemma Whelan, Morfydd Clark

Duration: 7 hours and 10 minutes

What to expect

*COMING SOON: the second novel from Booker-longlisted Sophie Mackintosh*

*Blue Ticket, a chilling new novel about freedom, fate and motherhood - out 7 May 2020*


The Water Cure

British Vogue 'Star of the Future' for 2020

Independent Best Books of the Decade


Penguin presents the audiobook edition of The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh, read by Hannah Murray, Gemma Whelan and Morfydd Clark.

Once upon a time, damaged women came here to be cured. We took them in, fed them glasses of our clean, good water, let them scream at the waves till their lips split like ripe fruit. Now no one is left but my sisters and me. King died a year ago, quite suddenly. Mother has vanished, no one knows where. And the safe compound they built around us, far away from the toxic world, has finally been breached.

Three men arrived last week, washed up by the sea, their gazes hungry and insistent. We remember now what our father taught us. 'If the men come to you, show yourself some mercy. Don't stick around and wait for them to put you out of your misery.'

'Immensely assured, calmly devastating. This is a gem of a novel and I was bowled over by it' -Katherine Angel, author of Unmastered

'I loved this book. It rushes you through to the end on a tide of tension and closely held panic. Eerie, electric, beautiful' - Daisy Johnson, author of Fen

'Creepy and delightful - it has a pinch of Shirley Jackson, a dash of chlorine, and an essence all of its own' - Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, author of Harmless Like You

'Devastating. A work of cool, claustrophobic beauty' Eli Goldstone, author of Strange Heart Beating

Genre

Modern & contemporary fiction, Dystopian & utopian fiction, Narrative theme: Coming of age, Science fiction: apocalyptic & post-apocalyptic, Narrative theme: Social issues

Listen to a sample

Searing, richly drawn, eerily compelling... As foreboding in what it holds back as in what it reveals

Stylist

The Water Cure deserves a Sofia Coppola-style big-screen treatment, although its cultish overtones and sinister denouement are as reminiscent of The Wicker Man as The Virgin Suicides

The Literary Review

Bewitching... [An] ambiguous utopia

Guardian

Powerfully unsettling, immensely assured, calmly devastating. It conjures a world both alien and familiar, exploring the physical and psychological cruelties enacted on women, by men, in the name of their protection, and the noble and ignoble uses to which anger can be put in a perverse world. This is a gem of a novel, and I was bowled over by it

Katherine Angel, author of 'Unmastered'

Bold, inventive, haunting... With shades of Margaret Atwood and Eimear McBride, you'll be bowled over by it

Stylist (61 Books to Read This Spring)

A superb debut

i

An extraordinary debut... Otherworldly, luminous, precise

Guardian

A work of cool, claustrophobic beauty. Sophie Mackintosh writes devastatingly well about the complexities that women face in loving men, and in loving each other

Eli Goldstone, author of 'Strange Heart Beating'

A hypnotic read... This extraordinary debut is a feminist, quasi-dystopian read - great for fans of Hot Milk, The Girls and The Vegetarian

Elle

Compulsive, eerily gorgeous, [it] will have you gripped until the end... A film adaptation feels inevitable... As far as debuts go, this is superb

Irish News

[An] eerie, uncanny literary debut... Beautifully written, pared down and hypnotic

Sunday Times Culture

Otherworldly, brutal and poetic: a feminist fable set by the sea, a utopia gone awry, a female Lord of the Flies. It transported me, savaged me, filled me with hope and fear. It felt like a book I'd been waiting to read for a long time

Emma Jane Unsworth, author of 'Animals'

[A] wildly confident debut... Take the strange social ceremonies of The Lobster and the pheromone-rich claustrophobia of The Beguiled and you come close to the world Sophie Mackintosh conjures

AnOther Magazine

The Water Cure is eerily still and pure - with saline bite... Mackintosh asks if it is the traumas of our pasts that ultimately pose the greatest threat to our futures

New Statesman

Eerie, electric, beautiful. It rushes you through to the end on a tide of tension and closely held panic. I loved this book

Daisy Johnson, author of 'Fen'

[A] lyrical debut, original and very atmospheric

Good Housekeeping

Eerily beautiful, this strange, unsettling novel creeps up and grabs hold of you

Paula Hawkins, author of 'The Girl on the Train'

Creepy and delightful, a portrayal of post-apocalyptic puberty, intermingling desire and despair. It has a pinch of Shirley Jackson, a dash of chlorine, and an essence all of its own

Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, author of 'Harmless Like You'

Eerie and unsettling, the novel exerts a hypnotic grip as the tension builds

Daily Mail

Darkly gratifying, dreamy, primal, and arresting [as] a fairy tale... The overgrown grounds, with their perimeter of rusty barbed wire and shark-infested waters, resemble Sleeping Beauty's castle

New Yorker

Elemental... [A] utopia portrayed in spectral, organic prose... Mackintosh is a wonderful stylist; the full scope of her imagination, as well as the cohesion of her vision, is evident on every page... A seriously impressive feat

Irish Times

Electric [and] beautifully strange... Her novel is an exercise in minimalism

Times Literary Supplement

Stunning... A haunting story of abuse, death, and desire... Chilling and topical, a breathtaking debut

Dazed

In raw, visceral prose, Mackintosh probes at ideas of the threat of male violence, the ways women are told to protect ourselves, love and sisterhood and survival. A hypnotic, stormy book, with one of my favourite endings I've read in a long while

The Pool

Powerful, mythic, seductively sinister... Her alternative world is as carefully imagined as one of Margaret Atwood's... [Sophie Mackintosh] is a writer to be reckoned with

Book Oxygen

Uneasy, mythic, lawless... The atmospheric landscapes cloak trauma and violence in wisps of uncertainty, where bad feelings coalesce as both presciently felt and strangely unknowable

Frieze

A feminist dystopian fairy tale, a sexual coming-of-age story and a survival-of-the-fittest tale. Evocative, suspenseful and bleak - in short, everything this age seems to be demanding