T. Greenwood's gorgeous Breathing Water tackles some hefty themes: drug abuse, racism, abusive relationships, tragedy, and loss. But she tempers that darkness with themes of friendship, family, home, and love.
Effie escapes her abusive boyfriend and flees across the county. Three years later, she has reason to return to her beloved childhood home situated on a lake in Vermont. Trying to recover from her horrible ordeal, Effie feels overwhelmed to be back in her grandparents home. Everywhere she turns, there are symbols of security, yet she is so broken, she can't take them in. Redemption is available to her, but can she accept it?
Greenwood writes such a beautiful love letter to Vermont, the state itself becomes a major character in her story. Greenwood's storytelling skills are definitely on point in her first published novel, and her prose is lush. Excellent!
Recommended By Dianah H., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
Effie Greer watches the final days of summer play out from her grandparents' home in Lake Gormlaith, Vermont, with her boyfriend, Max. Despite the idyllic setting, Effie is hiding a secret. With a heated temper and shattered past, Max is headed toward self-destruction, and Effie, unwilling to let go, is close behind. Slowly, Effie begins to gain the strength necessary to leave the suffocating relationship. But on the evening she decides to go, Max's violence results in a tragic boating accident and the death of a child.
Unable to deal with her role in that terrible August night, Effie drifts aimlessly from city to city. Only when she learns that Max has died of a heroin overdose does she find the strength to return to Lake Gormlaith and face the demons that have kept her away. No longer a naive young girl, Effie is now a woman desperately seeking absolution. She ultimately finds her chance in the most unlikely of people.
Startling and fresh. . .ripe with originality. --San Diego Union-Tribune
Three years after leaving Lake Gormlaith, Vermont, Effie Greer is coming home. The unspoiled lake, surrounded by dense woods and patches of wild blueberries, is the place where she spent idyllic childhood summers at her grandparents' cottage. And it's where Effie's tempestuous relationship with her college boyfriend, Max, culminated in a tragedy she can never forget.
Effie had hoped to save Max from his troubled past, and in the process became his victim. Since then, she's wandered from one city to another, living like a fugitive. But now Max is gone, and as Effie paints and restores the ramshackle cottage, she forms new bonds--with an old school friend, with her widowed grandmother, and with Devin, an artist and carpenter summering nearby. Slowly, she's discovering a resilience and tenderness she didn't know she possessed, and--buoyed by the lake's cool, forgiving waters--she may even learn to save herself.
Wrenching yet ultimately uplifting, here is a novel of survival, hope, and absolution from a writer of extraordinary insight and depth.
"Greenwood is a writer of subtle strength." -Publishers Weekly
Praise For T. Greenwood's Breathing Water
"A poignant, clear-eyed novel. . .filled with careful poetic description." --The New York Times Book Review
"A vivid, somberly engaging book." --Larry McMurtry
"Greenwood sensitively and painstakingly unravels her protagonist's self-loathing and replaces it with a graceful dignity." --Publishers Weekly