The Sunday Times Top Ten Bestseller
'Superb' The Times
'Sharp, searching . . . utterly of the moment' Hilary Mantel, author of Wolf Hall
'So accomplished' Guardian
'A masterpiece' Jessie Burton, author of The Miniaturist
'One of her best' Irish Times
'Beautifully written, intense, powerful' David Nicholls, author of Sweet Sorrow
From the acclaimed author of Ghost Wall, Summerwater is a devastating story told over twenty-four hours in the Scottish highlands, and a searing exploration of our capacity for both kinship and cruelty in these divided times.
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.
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.
‘Nothing escapes her sly humour and brilliant touch. Deft and brimming with life, Summerwater is a novel of endless depth. A masterpiece.’ Jessie Burton, author of The Miniaturist
'Summerwater may be her best so far.' The Times
'This latest display of Moss’s imaginative versatility shine[s] with intelligence' Sunday Times
Moss's taut latest (after Ghost Wall) turns a rain-drenched park in the Scottish Highlands into a site of tension and unease for a group of vacationing strangers. The book opens with a middle-aged woman going for a run in the early morning, her family still asleep in their rented cabin. As she follows the trail past an illegally pitched tent, she considers the trope of a dangerous man in the woods. From here on out, each chapter introduces a new point of view among the mix of English tourists and Scots who watch and pass judgment upon one another without interacting, and situations such as a teenage boy's ill-advised kayak trip across a rough loch and a teenage girl's sneaking out at night keep the reader wondering if this is the kind of book where the worst thing will happen. As the noises of late-night revelry from one cabin draw attention from all others, many of whom describe its dwellers wrongly as "foreign" or "those Romanians," the suspense builds. Meanwhile, a series of lyrical interludes describing the park's elements of nature and eons of evolution provide delightfully ironic contrasts to the small human dramas. Readers unafraid of a bit of rain will relish this.