Maddy is sixteen. Deeply curious, wry and vivacious, she’s poised at the outset of adulthood. She has loyal friends, a mother, Eve, with whom she’s unusually close, a father she’s never met, devoted grandparents, and a crush on a boy named Jack. Maddy also has cancer.
Hungry for experience despite living in the shadows of illness, Maddy seeks out her first romantic relationship, ponders philosophical questions, and secretly tracks down her father, Antonio. She continually tests the depths and limits of her closeness with her mother, while Eve has to come to terms with the daughter she loves and only partly knows, in a world she can’t control.
Thank you to Jahan at Hodder Books for inviting me to be involved in this Blog Tour celebrating All the Water in the World being shortlisted for a Costa First Novel Award. Congratulations!
A coming of age story told my Maddy and her mum, as sixteen year old Maddy matures whilst dying of cancer. Told in an unusual time line the voices of these 2 women are strong and recognisable and the writing is very accessible. Maddy is completing school work and embarking on her first romance, whilst also making first contact with her absent father.
This was a moving book that tackled death, family life and first love, the writing was beautiful and although the story was desperately sad it was written in a positive way, capturing the impact of cancer and the death of a child, the experience of this from the child and mother’s perspective and the array of emotions arising in both.
A stunning debut novel well deserving of the Costa nomination, the writing feels brave, particularly the introduction of Maddy’s father and the way the story isn’t quite told chronologically.
Thank you again to Jahan for inviting me to be involved in celebrating this nomination and highlighting this book to me.
About the Author
Karen Raney was awarded the 2017 Pat Kavanagh Prize for All The Water in the World, when the novel was still a work-in-progress. Born in Schenectady, New York, Raney attended Oberlin College, graduated from Duke University, and worked as a nurse before moving to London to study art. She lives in London with her husband and daughter, and teaches at the University of East London. All the Water in the World is her first novel.