Monday, May 30, 2011


The title refers to a community that lies beneath a reservoir in Vermont. As a teenager, the main character, Cath, glimpsed the underwater buildings from her grandfather's boat. This experience leaves a lasting impression, especially as Cath delves into her grandmother's submerged past, gleaning intimate knowledge of her grandmother's life by reading her grandmother's diaries. Georgia, the grandmother, was confined to a TB sanitarium while she was a young woman, and there she fell in love with a charismatic, dying young man. After her release, Georgia married her much older physician, John. Their marriage came about partly due to John's misunderstanding and manipulation. As these facts come to light, Cath realizes that Georgia's marriage flourished, despite its shaky foundation. Both women lost their mothers at an early age. After Georgia's mother succumbed to cancer, she scoffed at the opportunity to live with their grandparents, as she had been running the household throughout her mother's illness. Cath's mother, Georgia's daughter, is schizophrenic, and Cath does move in with Georgia and John after her mother commits suicide. There are scads of other parallels. Both women become involved with young men in relationships that they know are flawed, and like Georgia, Cath is eventually sent away, not to a sanitarium, but to Paris to stay with her aunt Rue. Cath perhaps starts to realize what's important in her own life after becoming aware of Georgia's struggles. With three grown children and two ex-husbands, she has a chance to reinvent herself.

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