Books

We Are Water

We Are Water

We Are Water is a disquieting and ultimately uplifting novel about a marriage, a family, and human resilience in the face of tragedy, from Wally Lamb, the New York Times bestselling author of The Hour I First Believed and I Know This Much Is True.

After 27 years of marriage and three children, Anna Oh—wife, mother, outsider artist—has fallen in love with Viveca, the wealthy Manhattan art dealer who orchestrated her success. They plan to wed in the Oh family’s hometown of Three Rivers in Connecticut. But the wedding provokes some very mixed reactions and opens a Pandora’s Box of toxic secrets—dark and painful truths that have festered below the surface of the Ohs’ lives.

We Are Water is a layered portrait of marriage, family, and the inexorable need for understanding and connection, told in the alternating voices of the Ohs—nonconformist, Anna; her ex-husband, Orion, a psychologist; Ariane, the do-gooder daughter, and her twin, Andrew, the rebellious only son; and free-spirited Marissa, the youngest. It is also a portrait of modern America, exploring issues of class, changing social mores, the legacy of racial violence, and the nature of creativity and art.

With humor and compassion, Wally Lamb brilliantly captures the essence of human experience and the ways in which we search for love and meaning in our lives.

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Wishin’ and Hopin’: A Christmas Story

Wishin’ and Hopin’: A Christmas Story

It’s 1964 and ten-year-old Felix is sure of a few things: the birds and the bees are puzzling, television is magical, and this is one Christmas he’ll never forget.

LBJ and Lady Bird are in the White House, Meet the Beatles is on everyone’s turntable, and Felix Funicello (distant cousin of the iconic Annette ) is doing his best to navigate fifth grade–easier said than done when scary movies still give you nightmares and you bear a striking resemblance to a certain adorable cartoon boy.

Back in his beloved fictional town of Three Rivers, Connecticut, with a new cast of endearing characters, Wally Lamb takes his readers straight into the halls of St. Aloysius Gonzaga Parochial School–where Mother Filomina’s word is law and goody-two-shoes Rosalie Twerski is sure to be minding everyone’s business. But grammar and arithmetic move to the back burner this holiday season with the sudden arrivals of substitute teacher Madame Frechette, straight from QuEbec, and feisty Russian student Zhenya Kabakova. While Felix learns the meaning of French kissing, cultural misunderstanding, and tableaux vivants, Wishin’ and Hopin’ barrels toward one outrageous Christmas.

From the Funicello family’s bus-station lunch counter to the elementary school playground (with an uproarious stop at the Pillsbury Bake-Off), Wishin’ and Hopin’ is a vivid slice of 1960s life, a wise and witty holiday tale that celebrates where we’ve been–and how far we’ve come.

The Hour I First Believed

The Hour I First Believed

Wally Lamb’s two previous novels, She’s Come Undone and I Know This Much Is True, struck a chord with readers. They responded to the intensely introspective nature of the books, and to their lively narrative styles and biting humor. One critic called Wally Lamb a modern-day Dostoevsky, whose characters struggle not only with their respective pasts, but with a mocking, sadistic God in whom they don’t believe but to whom they turn, nevertheless, in times of trouble (New York Times).

In his new novel, The Hour I First Believed, Lamb travels well beyond his earlier work and embodies in his fiction myth, psychology, family history stretching back many generations, and the questions of faith that lie at the heart of everyday life. The result is an extraordinary tour de force, at once a meditation on the human condition and an unflinching yet compassionate evocation of character.

When forty-seven-year-old high school teacher Caelum Quirk and his younger wife, Maureen, a school nurse, move to Littleton, Colorado, they both get jobs at Columbine High School. In April 1999, Caelum returns home to Three Rivers, Connecticut, to be with his aunt who has just had a stroke. But Maureen finds herself in the school library at Columbine, cowering in a cabinet and expecting to be killed, as two vengeful students go on a carefully premeditated, murderous rampage. Miraculously she survives, but at a cost: she is unable to recover from the trauma. Caelum and Maureen flee Colorado and return to an illusion of safety at the Quirk family farm in Three Rivers. But the effects of chaos are not so easily put right, and further tragedy ensues.

While Maureen fights to regain her sanity, Caelum discovers a cache of old diaries, letters, and newspaper clippings in an upstairs bedroom of his family’s house. The colorful and intriguing story they recount spans five generations of Quirk family ancestors, from the Civil War era to Caelum’s own troubled childhood. Piece by piece, Caelum reconstructs the lives of the women and men whose legacy he bears. Unimaginable secrets emerge; long-buried fear, anger, guilt, and grief rise to the surface.

I’ll Fly Away: Further Testimonies from the Women of York Prison

I’ll Fly Away: Further Testimonies from the Women of York Prison

In 2003 Wally Lamb–the author of two of the most beloved novels of our time, She’s Come Undone and I Know This Much Is True–published Couldn’t Keep It to Myself, a collection of essays by the students in his writing workshop at the maximum-security York Correctional Institution, Connecticut’s only prison for women. Writing, Lamb discovered, was a way for these women to confront painful memories, face their fears and their failures, and begin to imagine better lives. The New York Times described the book as Gut-tearing tales . . . the unvarnished truth. The Los Angeles Times said of it, Lying next to and rising out of despair, hope permeates this book.

Now Lamb returns with I’ll Fly Away, a new volume of intimate, searching pieces from the York workshop. Here, twenty women–eighteen inmates and two of Lamb’s cofacilitators–share the experiences that shaped them from childhood and that haunt and inspire them to this day. These portraits, vignettes, and stories depict with soul-baring honesty how and why women land in prison–and what happens once they get there. The stories are as varied as the individuals who wrote them, but each testifies to the same core truth: the universal value of knowing oneself and changing one’s life through the power of the written word.

Couldn’t Keep It To Myself: Testimonies from Our Imprisoned Sisters

Couldn’t Keep It To Myself: Testimonies from Our Imprisoned Sisters

In a stunning work of insight and hope, New York Times bestselling author Wally Lamb once again reveals his unmatched talent for finding humanity in the lost and lonely and celebrates the transforming power of the written word.

For several years, Lamb has taught writing to a group of women prisoners at York Correctional Institution in Connecticut. In this unforgettable collection, the women of York describe in their own words how they were imprisoned by abuse, rejection, and their own self-destructive impulses long before they entered the criminal justice system. Yet these are powerful stories of hope and healing, told by writers who have left victimhood behind.

In his moving introduction, Lamb describes the incredible journey of expression and self-awareness the women took through their writing and shares how they challenged him as a teacher and as a fellow author. Couldn’t Keep It to Myself is a true testament to the process of finding oneself and working toward a better day.

I Know This Much Is True

I Know This Much Is True

I Know This Much Is True is a novel by Wally Lamb, published in 1998. It was featured in Oprah’s Book Club in June 1998.

The novel takes place in Three Rivers, Connecticut. Dominick Birdsey’s identical twin, Thomas, suffers from paranoid schizophrenia. With medication, he can function properly and work at a coffee stand, but occasionally he has severe episodes of his illness. Thinking he is making a sacrificial protest that will stop the war in the Middle East, Thomas cuts off his own hand in a public library. Dominick sees him through the ensuing decision not to attempt to reattach the hand, and makes efforts on his behalf to free him from what he knows to be an inadequate and depressing hospital for the dangerous mentally ill.

She’s Come Undone

She’s Come Undone

She’s Come Undone is a 1992 novel by Wally Lamb which was widely read after being chosen as an Oprah’s Book Club selection in December 1996. Lamb’s breakthrough novel was named a finalist for the 1992 Los Angeles Book Awards’ Art Seidenbaum Prize for first fiction. Lamb’s other novels include I Know This Much Is True and The Hour I First Believed. She’s Come Undone has been translated into eighteen languages and is read worldwide.

  • Chosen as an Oprah’s Book Club selection in December 1996.
  • A New York Times Notable Book of the Year
  • A People Magazine Top 10 Book of the Year
  • A Los Angeles Times Book Award Finalist for Best First Novel of the Year