The Water Cure (Magill's Literary Annual 2008)
In a nonlinear novel that asks what circumstances could push a law-abiding citizen to become a criminal captor and torturer, Percival Everett’s The Water Cure explores one father’s quest to avenge his daughter’s murder and to bring sanity into his suddenly insane life. Ishmael Kidder’s eleven-year-old daughter Lane’s body is discovered in a park by two schoolboys after she had been missing for two days. One minute Lane was standing on her mother’s lawn playing with her bike, and the next minute she vanished from her parents’ lives forever. The totality and the quickness of the act, as well as the fact that no one saw anything, causes a grieving father to contemplate: “And so a longstanding philosophical question was answered for me: if your child screams in the forest and there is no one around to hear, does she make a sound? It turns out she does not.”
Lane’s premature and brutal death elicits unquenchable desires for revenge. Lane’s rapist and murderer is apprehended, but he is released after questioning and later captured by Ishmael, who follows him out of the police station. The capture allows Ishmael to have his revenge, to which he confesses, “I am guilty not because of my actions, to which I freely admit, but for my accession, admission, confession that I executed these actions with not only deliberation and...
(The entire section is 1733 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!
Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 2008)
Booklist 104, no. 1 (September 1, 2007): 57.
Kirkus Reviews 75, no. 14 (July 15, 2007): 683.
Library Journal 132, no. 16 (October 1, 2007): 58-59.
Los Angeles Times, September 16, 2007, p. R6.
San Francisco Chronicle, September 16, 2007, p. M1.
The Washington Post, August 26, 2007, p. BW04.
(The entire section is 30 words.)