I have read a couple of books by Christina Baker Kline and when I saw sweet water at the used bookstore I decided to try it. I'm glad I did, because I couldn't even put it down! I found it to be a very interesting story.
This story is told by two women...Cassie Simon and her grandmother, Clyde. The women tell their stories to the reader alternately.
The book begins with the grandmother telling the story of the night her daughter, Cassie's mom Ellen, died. Cassie lost her mother when she was three years old. She and her father moved from the Sweet Water, Tennessee area to the East coast right after that. So Cassie did not know her mother's parents, Amory and Clyde. Cassie worked in New York City at an art gallery. One day she received a call from Tennessee informing her that her grandfather had died and left her the old family home and some land. Cassie decided to move there, sight unseen to try to get back on track with her sculpting.
When Cassie arrived in Sweet Water she went to her grandmother's newer home and attempted to get to know her, along with her aunts, uncles and cousins. It was clear as soon as Cassie arrived that there was something going on. Some of the family were welcoming, others were not. As Cassie tried to learn more about her mother Ellen's life and her death, she encountered resistance and was aware that there seemed to be family secrets going on.
As Cassie attempted to learn more, she began to piece some things together and had to help her grandmother find some peace and acceptance.
There was a line in the book that was what was written on Ellen's tombstone:
"Memory believes before knowing remembers."It is from Faulkner's book Light in August. The full quote is:
"Memory believes before knowing remembers. Believes longer than recollects, longer than knowing even wonders. Knows, remembers, believes."I had never read that before. It really struck me.
This is a book that I will read again at some point. I really liked it.