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How a Woman Becomes a Lake

Marjorie Celona

8 Reviews

Rated 0

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

A compelling literary mystery about the dark corners in a small community, from Marjorie Celona, whose award-winning debut novel Y was praised by Evie Wyld as 'a beautiful, moving book that explores what it takes to belong'.


By a frozen lake, ten-year-old Jesse waits for his father.
It's New Year's Day, and his dad promised a fresh start.
But Jesse messed it all up.
And that's when he meets the woman.
In the months ahead, the woman's sudden disappearance sets off a chain of events in Whale Bay, spanning out like fracture lines into the lives of her husband, the detective trying to solve her case, and of Jesse and his family - a young boy cracking like ice under the weight of a terrible secret. How A Woman Becomes a Lake is a chilling literary mystery that asks what happens when we are failed by the ones we love.

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Praise for How a Woman Becomes a Lake

  • Stunning. Beautifully written, poignant, page-turning and shocking. A surefire hit - Jo Spain, bestselling author of Dirty Little Secrets

  • To the reader picking up this book for the first time: I envy you, such is the pleasure, depth, and beauty of the journey you're about to take. Haunting, deeply felt, ingeniously constructed, How A Woman Becomes a Lake is a supremely satisfying novel, masterful on every level. I could not put it down. - Karen Thompson Walker, author of The Dreamers

  • Celona has the courage to take her time, letting us have a leisurely rummage inside her characters' heads, refusing to be trammelled by the usual rhythms of the whodunnit; and yet she manages to pull off twists worthy of Harlan Coben . . . It's a rarity: a book confected with satisfying artfulness that feels like a slice of real life. - Telegraph

  • A thriller with stunning writing and real honesty about grief - Stella Duffy

  • It is not lightly that I say: I could not put this book down. Celona's writing possesses the clearness and poetry of a compassionate, all-seeing ghost. Each time a character crossed the page, I felt absorbed by their consciousness, invited to see the story from a fresh, insistent perspective. On the one hand, How a Woman Becomes a Lake offers a felt study of guilt, grief and blame. On the other, the story will challenge your conceptions of love, which can be greedy, as well as sacrificial and absolving. - Eliza Robertson, author of Demi-Gods

  • This book has moved into me; it occupies and haunts me. Marjorie Celona writes with an empathy that manages to be both enveloping and exact. How a Woman Becomes a Lake is about what it's like to long for your most secret self to be understood, while fearing that such understanding might kill you. It is a feral, echoing, complicatedly vulnerable work of art. - Sara Peters, author of I Become a Delight to My Enemies

  • A deeply empathetic and emotionally astute novel that reads like a thriller. Every sentence glints with an ice crystal's understated beauty. This is a profound page-turner - Deborah Willis, author of The Dark and Other Love Stories

  • What happens when darkness is handed down from one generation to the next? How do secrets kept out of love warp the people who keep them? Marjorie Celona wraps powerful ideas about care-taking and morality around a tight, elegantly suspenseful story. This is a beautifully written book that I read compulsively, in a single sitting, all the way through to its haunting end. - Alix Ohlin, author of Dual Citizens

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