"Andrews’s writing is transportingly voluptuous, conjuring tastes and smells and sounds like her literary godmother, Edna O’Brien . . . What makes her novel sing is its universal themes: how a young woman tries to make sense of her world, and how she grows up."
–Penelope Green, The New York Times Book Review
This “luminous” (The Observer) feminist coming-of-age novel captures in sensuous, blistering prose the richness and imperfection of the bond between a daughter and her mother
It begins with our bodies . . . Safe together in the violet dark and yet already there are spaces beginning to open between us.
From that first immaculate, fluid connection, through the ups and downs of a working-class childhood in northern England, the one constant in Lucy’s life has been her mother: comforting and mysterious, ferociously loving, tirelessly devoted, as much a part of Lucy as her own skin. Her mother's lessons in womanhood shape Lucy’s appreciation for desire, her sense of duty as a caretaker, her hunger for a better, perhaps reckless life.
At university in glamorous London, Lucy’s background sets her apart. And then she is finished, graduated, adrift. She escapes to a tiny house in Donegal left empty by her grandfather, a place where her mother once found happiness. There she will take a lover, live inside art and the past, and track back through her memories and her mother’s stories to make sense of her place in the world.
In “a stunning new voice in British literary fiction” (The Independent) that lays bare our raw, dark selves, Jessica Andrews’s debut honors the richness and imperfection of the bond between a daughter and her mother. Intricately woven in lyrical vignettes, Saltwater is a novel of becoming-- a woman, an artist-- and of finding a way forward by looking back.