Cover Image: Hundred Waters, The

Hundred Waters, The

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I know absolutely nothing about art but I loved this novel as it explores relationships between many people of different ages! Louisa directs an art center and is married to Richard with 12-year-old Sylvie as their daughter. When they are invited to friends for a dinner one night, everything changes as they meet Agatha and Heinrich's eighteen-year-old son, Gabriel. So many unseen consequences of actions that seem to appear out of nowhere but of course impact more than one character's lives in a sort of domino effect! Fascinating and well-worth your time!
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This is a little slice of suburban family drama. We have a model and artist from NYC who has settled in the CT suburbs with her (older) architect husband and tween daughter. She is struggling with her new identity as a suburban mom, and is intrigued by the 19 year old Gabriel, a neighbors son. The weird bit is that her daughter is also feeling drawn to him. Gabriel is an artist, focused on bringing attention to climate change and other man-made natural disasters. The book touches on the way youth feels about these kinds of issues, how can The Adults know this stuff and not do anything? The feelings within him are so big, you can tell he is hurting when he talks about them, he has this quiet rage thing going on that draws both mother and daughter into his orbit. 

Between the family stuff and the environmental activism stuff this was right up my alley. If you saw and loved the movie Tully, this has that same kind of vibe. I did find some of the characters (the dad) to be a little annoyingly typecast, and some background elements that were mentioned in passing but not explored to my liking. I think the real issue I had that kept me from enjoying this more is that the writing style didn’t appeal to me in some way, but I stayed for the themes and the drama. The ending was a delight to me and did make up for the way some of the other scenes dragged a bit. 

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher, Grove Press/Grove Atlantic, for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for this honest review!!
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2.5 // The premise sounded super interesting to me, especially since I tend to really enjoy novels with art as a big part of the plot (and books set on the affluent parts of the east coast always hook me) However, I had a hard time getting into it and caring about the characters or where the plot was going. 

Thank you to Netgalley and Grove Atlantic for sending me an advanced copy
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This is a story about the gap between youthful ambitions and adult experiences.  Louisa Rader spent her early adulthood as a model and photographer in New York City.  Her life among other artists was exciting but often uncertain.  Over a decade later, Louisa's life bears little resemblance to those days.  She is back in her wealthy hometown in suburban Connecticut, now married to a successful and older architect and with a preteen daughter, Sylvie.  She works as the director of a local art center, which typically focuses on boring, local artists.  Louisa hopes to remake the center to feature more provocative artists.  Her life is easy but lacks excitement.  

One night, Louisa and her husband go to dinner with another couple in town whose house Louisa's husband designed.  There, Louisa meets their son, Gabriel, who is a young artist and environmentalist.  Soon Gabriel becomes an important figure in the lives of both Louisa and Sylvie, and his efforts to make his mark on the world ends up having its most dramatic effects on the Rader family.

I am partial to novels that explore the dissatisfactions with suburban life, and this was a great, modern version of the genre.  It captures well the attraction of passion and purity of youth, and how exposure to that as an adult leading a comfortable but routine life can fuel reflection and discontent.  It also is an interesting exploration of the relationships between art and commerce and what it means to make one's mark as an artist.

Highly recommended!
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This book was very interesting in its beginning but I had a really hard time getting into it and eventually dnfd it. 

The first chapter hints at a thirller almost horror atmosphere that lingers throughout the book, but never seems to reach any true identity. 

Between the lake side suburban ultra rich and the poorly executed voyeurism this felt like a better literary version of Riley Sager’s latest novel. 

By the time I put this book down I didn’t really care that much but I also had no bad feelings. I think this just wasn’t for me
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Most people would think that Louisa Rader is living the perfect life. As the director of the town’s art center, this former model and photographer lives in a wealthy Connecticut suburb with her successful architect husband Richard, and their twelve-year-old daughter, Sylvie. But Louisa is restless and bored.

Richard is much older and doesn’t understand Louisa’s feelings. Though she is originally from this town, she spent much of her early adult life among the struggling artists in New York City. Though life there was far from idyllic, she suddenly misses it.

When she meets Gabriel, the eighteen-year-old son of one of Richard’s top clients, Louisa finds him attractive, mostly due to his outlook on art. 

Gabriel tries to shock people with his art, which minimally forces them to pay attention to it. While Louisa is attracted to his need for rebellion and freedom, Sylvie is attracted to his passion for environmentalism, and how his art serves that purpose. Neither mother nor daughter knows how the other one feels.

The Hundred Waters keeps the reader engaged from beginning to end. Not only is the purpose of art explored, but also issues of aging, boredom, freedom, entitlement, and privilege. The prose is gorgeous with vivid descriptions from the haunting art to the contrasts between the gritty New York City setting and the plush Connecticut suburbs.

Since this is such a seductive novel, I expected and hoped for a shocking and disturbing ending. That didn’t happen, so I was disappointed. At least if didn't fall into stereotypes, which it easily could have done.

That said, the journey and pace of The Hundred Waters was still worth my time, and I highly recommend it.

(The complete review will be posted on UnderratedReads on 8/23/22)
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Well written debut novel set in a wealthy Connecticut suburb. When I read the description, I thought it might be a little on the lighter side, but Acampora deftly explores environmental issues, mother/daughter relationships, and coming to terms with evolving past one's younger self. There was something uncomfortable about the story, but all in all a very enjoyable and compelling read.
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This is an interesting novel exploring the contours of suburban life within a lens of art and the impacts of climate change.  Louisa Rader is somewhat surprised to be back in her hometown Nearwater, Connecticut, an affluent suburban community.  After a career as a model and a brief attempt to become a professional photographer, Louisa met and married her husband, a very successful architect.  They are raising a daughters and Louisa is working as the director of a local arts center.  Despite a life that seems enviable to outsiders, Louisa is restless, missing her time as an artist living in the city and frustrated by the limits of her role as the arts center director.  When the Raders meet Gabriel, a young, intense, and often brooding artist and environmentalist who is the son of clients of Louisa's clients, he has a surprising and deep impact on Louisa, her daughter, and their lives.

This is a perceptive examination of ambition, art, and adulthood.

Highly recommended!
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Lauren Acampora’s "The Hundred Waters" offers a brief, but intimate glimpse into the elegant, art-filled world of former model and artist Louise. A must-read for fans of literary fiction.
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To start with thank you to net galley and grove press for the ARC. I thought this book had an interesting concept and really enjoyed the exploration of environmentalism through contemporary art. I also thought the mother daughter dynamic was interesting and added to the story. I enjoyed Sylvies character and thought the author did a good job of exploring a young girls want to have someone as well as the dynamic of a young teen with her parents. The journey of Louisa was also well done showing her struggle with her life now and the one in the past. The one character that fell flat for me was Gabriel. It just felt like his character was not fully fleshed out and some of the plot surrounding him was confusing. This is just a personal thought though so I would take it with a grain of salt. Overall it was an interesting read and I look forward to reading her other works.
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Lauren Acampora’s The Hundred Waters offers a brief but intimate glimpse into the elegant, art-filled world of ex model and artist Louise.  It opens with Louise, Now a mother and wife, trying to bring art to her quiet town. Louise’s short affair with her neighbors’ teenage son is where the story began to fall apart for me. We don’t see enough of Gabriel and his actions to understand why an 18 yoa boy is an alluring option for Louise, as though there’s no adults for her to sleep with if she wants to cheat on her husband.  Additionally, while the  story mentions in passing our impending environmental doom it didn’t feel like a significant enough portion of the story to explain the cover, title, or mention in the blurb.  The ending was juicy but abrupt.
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THE HUNDRED WATERS is recommended for fans of literary fiction.

I especially admired the intimacy of the narrative. The reader feels they are being given an exclusive inside look at the art world. The writing is sophisticated and elegant.

The character of Gabriel felt a tiny bit stereotypical and I would have preferred to see him more multi-layered.

Overall, I felt carried along by the narrative in a very entertaining way. The characters' restlessness adds a delicious hint of tension.
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𝐈𝐟 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐬𝐢𝐭 𝐚𝐫𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐝 𝐰𝐚𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐚𝐧 𝐢𝐧𝐯𝐢𝐭𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧, 𝐲𝐨𝐮’𝐥𝐥 𝐧𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫 𝐠𝐞𝐭 𝐚𝐧𝐲𝐰𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞. 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐢𝐬 𝐭𝐨 𝐚𝐜𝐭 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐚𝐬𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐠. 𝐎𝐧𝐜𝐞 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐠𝐞𝐭 𝐩𝐞𝐫𝐦𝐢𝐬𝐬𝐢𝐨𝐧, 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐟𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐡𝐧𝐞𝐬𝐬 𝐝𝐢𝐬𝐚𝐩𝐩𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐬, 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞’𝐬 𝐧𝐨 𝐞𝐥𝐞𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐨𝐟 𝐬𝐮𝐫𝐩𝐫𝐢𝐬𝐞.

Louisa Rader has come home to roost again in Nearwater, Connecticut, a far cry from her former life as a model and photographer in New York. Living in a glass house her architect husband Richard designed, which resembles a nautilus, in her hometown of understated wealth, she finds her days unchallenging. She protested returning, at first, but had to relent because why wouldn’t she want to raise their daughter Sylvie in this safe haven? The excitement of Louisa’s New York youth doesn’t seem real in this place they’ve settled upon, but it still tugs at her somewhere deep. Curating the exhibitions at the art center in town doesn’t sate her hunger, not while the locals demand ‘adhering to usual fare’, not the least bit interested in showing provocative work. She whiles away the time with dreams of her own photographs on display, including her modeling ones, but knows they are contrary to the reality of what the board wants. Uncomfortable is what makes exciting art, and Nearwater doesn’t embrace uncomfortable. They are far too provincial, to her mind. If Xavier could see her now, but he is buried deep in her past, that whole vibrant world of fire, raw talent, desire and ambition is now just a phantom life she can’t touch. The doors closed indefinitely, didn’t they? She has never really shared that part of herself with her husband, embarrassed by it, as he is nothing like Xavier. Marrying him meant putting the past behind her.

Richard has finished his commission, building a house for Agatha and Henrich Steiger, old nobility from Austria, clients he enjoyed working for. Philanthropists and important art collectors, Louisa understands they are powerful and meeting them is a thrill for reasons she can’t quite express. Invited into their home, it is their eighteen-year-old son Gabriel, an environmental artist, that intrigues Louisa and her daughter Sylvie, on the cusp of being a teenager. His work is unsettling, Louisa recognizes his gift, some people are born artists, much like Xavier was. She learns, encountering him again, that he wants to do large-scale projects but needs more space to work. His confidence oozes arrogance, but well earned. He has ideas, the sort that Richard has sought to protect his little girl from, “the coarse influence of popular culture.” Can ideas and art be dangerous, really? Richard knows his younger wife is closer to his daughter’s ear, while he’s a self-proclaimed Luddite. This world now, technology, it’s too much for impressionable children. With Sylvie’s silences, he worries more. The true threats are often the ones that lie undetected.

Sylvie is pulling away, it’s a natural progression, a way for children to gain independence, Louisa is sure of it. Richard views it differently, he is fearful, more overprotective. Louisa believes it a necessity to adapt to the times, that Richard needs to relax and accept the changes but the helplessness he feels is hard to embrace. It’s been a hard time on Sylvie, her horse riding days not enough to pull her out of her sadness. She just needs time, Louisa believes.

Sylvie is drawn to Gabriel from the first time she meets him in the Steiger’s basement, where she sees his artwork, focused on animals. She has been lonely for a long time, grieving the terrible loss of her friend and when she shares the story with Gabriel, it awakens a bond between them. Finally, someone she can talk to, someone who understands the anger she feels. Gabriel’s vision is a chance for Sylvie to come out of her sheltered world, and he enlists her help. But Louisa is aiding in his artistic development too, feeling pride in his growth. Being near him makes her feel electric with passion, and in a sense feels like time traveling back to her New York life, when youth was a promise of an exciting future in the art world, alongside the raw energy of Xavier. Her current life full of uneventful days disappoints her. Could she start again, at her age? Pick up where she left off? His presence is a catalyst, channeling desires in Louisa, but Sylvie is just as enchanted by his restlessness. It’s all coming back to Lousia through watching Xavier, like a fever dream, but we all have to wake up. She doesn’t realize she may have invited trouble in. The insulated world Richard has built around them may well be unraveling.

Louisa hasn’t fully left her thrill for edgier things behind, in finding an anchor she simply buried her ambitions. What I find interesting is how Richard, in her mind, is the source that put the flames out. It’s a bit childish as she did choose him while the life she was living was getting too heavy for her. She gets distracted, wrestling with her own desires, introspection that has her yearning for her former selves. While she admires her husband, she isn’t truly aware of him as a living, breathing person. Gabriel is quite the contradiction, a loose cannon of sorts, blinded by his passions. Sylvie, still becoming, naturally is excited by the older Gabriel’s attentions, and Richard is helpless against a changing world that threatens the very people he loves. Oh the chaos and damage thwarted dreams can cause. This was one engaging tale.

Publication Date: August 23, 2022

Grove Atlantic
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3.5 - This was well written definitely, exploring environmental themes alongside parenting and feeling stuck in life. I personally liked the shorter length of the story and felt it was able to keep the reader gripped. The character of Gabriel never felt fully fleshed out and this meant I didn't fully feel the draw the mother and daughter felt towards him, but perhaps this was on purpose to keep a sense of mystery. The ending felt a bit abrupt and no real resolution but I would still be interested in reading more of this authors work in the future. Thanks to Netgalley for the arc!
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The Hundred Waters is a strange title for this book, one that had me pondering its significance.  While the settings of an affluent Connecticut bedroom town (an hour outside NYC, easy to pinpoint) and visits to the gentrifying lower East Side of Manhattan rang true, not so relatable were the characters that seemed flat and two dimensional, and the much touted tension was easily predictable.  I did enjoy the approach to contemporary art and its appeal, but the book ultimately left me unsatisfied.
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This was my first book by Lauren Acampora, and I thought it was interesting. I liked getting an inside peek at the world of the wealthy. Thanks for letting me check it out!
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A lovely, fully realized book which is chock full of great details and really sets a scene. I admire the evocation of place and character here, and I am impressed by the writing on the sentence level.
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The Hundred Waters
by Lauren Acampora
Pub Date: August 23, 2022
Grove Press
Thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the ARC of this book. 
Lauren Acampora is the author of THE HUNDRED WATERS, a novel forthcoming from Grove Atlantic in August 2022.

Her first novel, THE PAPER WASP was longlisted for The Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize and named a Best Summer Read by The New York Times Book Review, USA Today, Oprah Magazine, ELLE, Town & Country,, Daily Mail (UK), Tatler, Thrillist, and Publishers Weekly, as well as a Best Indie Novel of 2019 by Chicago Review of Books.

THE WONDER GARDEN, a debut collection of linked stories, was chosen as one of the best books of 2015 by Amazon and NPR. It won the GLCA New Writers Award and was a finalist for the New England Book Award. It was also named a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection and an Indie Next selection and was longlisted for The Story Prize.
Unfortunately, this book was not a good fit for me.  I found it shallow and somewhat like a short story- I desired more. More of something.  So for me, it's a 3 star.
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Louisa Rader, a protagonist of "The Hundred Waters" by Lauren Acampora, cuts a striking figure. A former model, photographer, tall, in her Louboutins and her Dior little black dress, she looks slightly out of place at the effluent Connecticut town's party. Now, a bit bored, she runs a gallery in her hometown Nearwater. "Comfort is the only goal in this town – the kind of bland, coddling comfort meant for children. Grown people need friction to live." Interestingly, her husband, Richard, an acclaimed older architect, has an entirely different view of this town: he loves it, the old houses, the discrete charm, and the lack of commercial billboards. Louise and Richard have a daughter, Sylvie, a twelve-year-old starting her adolescent searches and trying to accept the death of her friend. Even with their problems, they look like a perfect family.

But there are clouds on the horizon. A new family moves in, with a charismatic 18-year-old son Gabriel. Contrary to Louisa and Sylvie, Gabriel knows precisely who he is – an artist. Through art, he wants to change the world because he's deeply concerned about the future of our planet, the fate of humans and animals, and the devastation of the environment. Half-secretly, he involves Sylvie in making art installations and happenings, culminating in a shocking presentation at the Nearwater art center.

All the topics in this novel – parenting, art, environmental issues – are close to my heart, yet I had problems accepting how Lauren Acampora tackles the issues. Gabriel is an artist -  the artist - and Louisa, together with her daughter (although they don't know they are involved with the same man/boy), are just willing helpers in Gabriel's vision. There is a hope that later they could become artists or activists themselves, but it's Gabriel who leaves the town – not to run away from the consequences of his most dangerous act but to conquer the world, starting with New York City.  Overall, I was left with disappointment pondering over this female inferiority to feed a male's artistic vision. Louisa and Sylvie are intriguing and curious, while Gabriel is a bit two-dimensional and full of slogans, yet the women are his followers.

It will be interesting to read this author's next novel – she has a gift for describing suburban life. And indeed, in her book, Nearwater is not the American dream.
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The Hundred Waters is a thoughtful book, an insightful look into the life of a privileged artist and her family. Louisa, once a fashion model and art photographer, is now the mother of a twelve year old daughter and married to a successful architect 20 years her senior. They reside in an affluent town in suburban Connecticut where Louisa directs the local art center.

Though it's been over a decade since Louisa has been part of the New York art scene, she feels drawn to it again, especially when she finds out that an old lover of hers will be at a particular art opening. Louisa attends the opening and then flits around a bit with people associated with her former gallery. On the one hand, she loves being a mother and her relatively secluded life in the suburbs. On the other hand, she longs to be taken seriously as a photographer again. Her photographs now reside in the back of her closet in Connecticut.

Louisa's daughter Sylvie is distant, pubescent, and secretive. Louisa and her husband are very protective of her but no child can be thoroughly protected. When Gabriel, the 18-year-old son of some very wealthy art collectors, enters their lives, Sylvie and Louisa will never be the same. Gabriel, an artist and drop-out draws on his charm, looks and charisma to attract both mother and daughter.

As Louisa tries to energize her art center with more contemporary art, she also realizes that the Board will only take a certain amount of visual chance. as they are tradition bound. Louisa tries to bypass their control and show more edgy artists. Things come to a head at the art center when the annual Gala is held.

I adored this book so much and was left wanting so much more, but grateful for the time I was able to spend with Louisa. 

Thank you to netgalley and publishers for providing an e-galley in exchange for my honest review.
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