Cool Water

Cool Water

Book - 2010
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Each chapter is a gem; a short story that eventually links the whole community. A strong suggestion for a book club, lots of potential for discussion.

Jan 19, 2021

What a wonderful surprise to find this gem of a read! I thought it would be separate stories but each story is interconnected to the others to portray the town of Juliet,s people and area near Swift Current Saskatchewan. Although each character's personality, memories, jobs and activities are thoughtfully presented over a period of days. It is more than that, though, with thought provoking glimpses into how people think, what makes them tick, why they are who they are, as they are becoming who they could be and how all of them make the town, and area what it is, with it's own culture in this small part of the prairies of Canada. I would have given this 5 stars but the pages of the actual book are uneven. I will be looking for more books by this author.

Jul 21, 2017

This is probably not a book I would have chosen for myself (it was part of a reading challenge), but I enjoyed it. It's a bit like reading a soap opera. You meet a wide cast of characters and experience one day in their lives. Most of the plot points are simple everyday life things (dealing with financial woes, finding the owner of a lost horse, trying to freeze green beans, etc.) but the writing is good, the characters are well-developed and realistic, and a wide variety of different types of relationships are explored. This means that, for the first few chapters, you feel like you're reading a collection of short stories rather than a novel (and it takes a long time before you find out the point of the first chapter), but if you give it time everything falls into place.

Jun 16, 2017

Lovely book. When some of my favorite writers like Larry Watson and the late Ivan Doig wrote words of praise for it you know you won't go wrong. Highly recommend.

May 30, 2017

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book! Set in one day and with multiple characters, the author did a fantastic job bringing each person to life. I enjoyed the rural setting and small-town feel.

Aug 20, 2014

Although this book claims to be a "novel" it is really a collection of vignettes set in the languishing [fictional] rural community of Juliet adjacent to the Sand Hills of southwestern Saskatchewan. A broad cast of characters provide the multiple threads tying together these vignettes.

Jan 20, 2013

As canadian as they come. I can read this book over and over again. Such a beautiful portrayal of rual life. Loved the characters and their essential niceness ( kindness).

martins_mom Oct 29, 2012

Another celebrated Canadian read (2010 Governer General's Award for Fiction) that I came to late. A wonderful evocation of fading rural life in Saskatchewan.

Aug 02, 2012

2010 GG. This is a book of ordinary lives in a small Saskatchewan town. Very good.

Jul 10, 2012

Excellent, measured writing. Shows us the characters instead of telling - always good! More of a collection of interlinked short stories than a novel.

Jun 21, 2012

Really enjoyed this book - Dianne Warren uses the characters of this fictional town very well indeed. And the Great Sand Hills of Saskatchewan sound fascinating!

Apr 10, 2012

Loved this book, the town of Juliet, the townspeople.
The character were drawn quickly but with great accuracy, you felt you knew them.
The description of the land, the hardships the people encountered always felt real.
You felt you knew these people and something of their lives.
The pace of the book moves quite quickly, I did not want tt to end.

tamcsa Mar 16, 2012

Cool Water is set in the small western Canadian community of Juliet, Saskatchewan. The novel brings to life several characters who are interconnected because they share the same small town. Her characters are real people. Warren understands how where we live reflects who we are. It is an unpretentious, understated book about the basic goodness of people. Cool Water is a novel about everyday life which includes disappointments, challenges and the joys we all encounter. I love when a book surprises me and Cool Water is one of those books. Highly Recommended. AL.

Feb 29, 2012

I loved this book! The number of characters are a bit confusing, and the beginning of the book is cryptic, but stay with it & you'll be rewarded with a fantastic read about characters that seem real, a place that could be any Canadian prairie town, and life wisdom for anyone. After finishing this book I felt that all of humanity was worth loving.

samdog123 Feb 28, 2012

This book was nominated for the Governor General's award. It's a fine example of Canadian writing. Diane Warren takes us to the prairie town Juliet, Saskatewan. Here we meet some memorable characters all dealing with life in a small town in their own way. Rather lyrical writing, and well done, but I found myself getting a little mired in the words at times. Still, a good read.

Oct 05, 2011

i liked this book more than i thought i would - too much Canadian Prairie Angst Literature in high school scarred me - or maybe left me cynical is a better way to phrase it.
I really enjoyed this novel; i appreciated how all the action takes place in a single day. and it reminded me of how important honest conversation really is.

Andge1 Aug 28, 2011

Having grown up in a small village in Saskatchewan, I can appreciate this story. In a place where people think they know so much about you, it can turn out that they don't know much about each other at all. A well written story!

LMOH Aug 10, 2011

A really enjoyable read. A collection of loveable characters who at first seem unrelated. But their lives are definitely connected.

Jul 21, 2011

The intertwined lives of many of the residents of Juliet Saskatchewan at the end of the Sand Hills. The characters are normal, everyday people, with problems, misunderstandings, lack of communication, unattainable ambitions, and how those things influence our daily lives and how we relate to one another. Love could be right at your finger tips if you would but look....whatever your situation may be; from the lady passing through town who loses her horse, to the man who helps her and his wife who thinks he is having an affair, to the man who finds the horse and meets a young boy who really needs a mentor (with a horse). The lives of all these people and more are intertwined and went time is taken to really communicate it is amazing the different between what you thought and what is real. This book is a quiet, gentle, slow read, but well worth it.

brianreynolds Jul 01, 2011

I started out reading this as a Winesburg, Ohio-Grapes of Wrath blend. The short, two-dimensional sketches of rural residents of a fictional town had me thinking of Sherwood Anderson's attempt to create unvarnished portraits that evoked a shock of recognition on every page. At the same time Warren seemed intent on imbuing the residents of Juliet with a dusty desperation and poverty, both material and spiritual, not unlike the dusty Depression on which Steinbeck's Joads choked.

As I continued, however, I was surprised at the skill with which Warren was able to seamlessly sew her characters together while keeping their stories independent enough that even I, a notoriously distractible reader, didn't need a dramatis personae to keep them straight. More importantly I realized this was not so much a group of stories or a story on which one central character would finally take the spotlight. The main character was Juliet herself. She was neither struggling to achieve something nor searching for her identity. Her existence did not seem to be in peril. She had no great hope of success or fear of failure. She simply was. She simply waited for some wind or some rain, a husband to return or leave, a death, a birth, a lover to leave or declare his love, a child to run away or return, beans to be canned or rot. Things that happen every day in a small village but don't substantially change the village even though its individuals may be transformed. Things that are charmingly prosaic or disarmingly honest or alarmingly insipid depending on the eye of the beholder. Juliet might like to be liked. But if that's the case, even that isn't all that obvious to me. This is a very quiet irony, a very good one in fact.

ksoles May 19, 2011

Cool Water bears all the telltale signs of a Governor General's Award winner: a remote Canadian setting, eloquent prose, contemplative characters and a slow-moving plot.

Warren recounts a 24-hour period in the lives of various townsfolk. A couple prepares for their teenaged daughter's upcoming (and doomed) wedding, parents of six young children struggle to make ends meet and a young man, abandoned as a baby, searches for answers about his purpose in the world.

Although certainly not a page-turner, this book becomes engrossing as it progresses and highlights the extraordinary in the quotidian.

Cdnbookworm Apr 18, 2011

Except for the prologue, which is historical, this book takes place within a period of just over 24 hours. Set in the small town of Juliet, near Swift Current, this book follows several people from town through their day. From the escape of a horse from its trailer in the wee hours one morning to camping in the sand dunes in the wee hours of the morning of the next day, this book follows the events in people's lives. Some are mundane, some life-changing, but all have their own resonance here.
We have the horse owner, off to start a new life and hoping to make a good first impression. A young man, now on his own, trying to find his identity and place. A couple on the brink of financial disaster struggling through their life, yet finding comfort in each other and their family. Their eldest son, learning about his dreams for the future. A well-off, but distant middle-aged couple facing a different life-changing event than they thought they were. A middle-aged man and his widowed sister-in-law finding that life goes on in unexpected ways.
The characters here, whether major or minor all have their own voice and feel authentic. And the landscape of Saskatchewan, in the sand hills, has its own role here as well. This is a book to savour and enjoy.

Feb 26, 2011

I was surprised by how engrossing this was - very well written and it really draws the readers into these lives.

Jan 02, 2011

Lovely prose, character-rich book. And setting is the strongest character. Like a trip back to the old home town & the prairie farm where I grew up. A rare trip into contemporary, rural, prairie Saskatchewan. 4+ stars.

Dec 22, 2010

Interesting characters abound in this slow moving story about life in a small mid Canadian town. Liked it a lot.

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