Wally Lamb – A New Book At Last

Wally Lamb (Chris Hetzer Photo)

It’s been four years since Wally Lamb published a new book, his short, light-hearted novel, Wishin’ and Hopin’. Now at last, he gives us a rich new novel, We Are Water.

Lamb will launch We Are Water (Harper Collins) on Oct. 21 at the new UConn Co-op Bookstore at Storrs Center, which is opening – before even the bookshelves are installed – on one night only for this special occasion. The official publication date for the novel is Oct. 22.

We Are Water absorbs you from the very first page, indeed the first paragraph, and does not let you go until you have read the last word; and even then, the book, the events, the characters linger in your mind for weeks.

On one level, it is the story of an all-American family trying to cope with the decision of the wife to leave her husband and marry a woman. But this is a book with many layers and stories. Lamb examines the impact of our early lives on who we become as adults and, more profoundly, who our children become. He probes the urge to create, the sources of art. With unstinting courage, he looks at sexuality in all its permutations.

This is also a book about how we remember and how we forget. Underlying We Are Water is a rich sense of place and history, and a horrific flood (based on fact). And key to the story is a long-deceased outsider artist (based on a real person), whose powerful paintings change lives years after he made them.

Like much of his writing, We Are Water is set in Eastern Connecticut in Three Rivers, a town based on Norwich and Willimantic and a bit of New London. Readers in the Storrs area will recognize many places. And, perhaps amusing himself, he has named some of his characters after people he knows. You might recognize the names too.

Lamb received a BA and MA from UConn, an MFA from Vermont College, and taught in the English Department at UConn. His books include She’s Come Undone and I Know This Much Is True, both Oprah Picks and New York Times and national number one bestsellers; The Hour I First Believed, also a New York Times bestseller; Wishin’ and Hopin’; and, with contributions from the women of York Correctional Institution, Couldn’t Keep It To Myself and I’ll Fly Away.  Lamb has received the Connecticut Center for the Book Lifetime Achievement Award, The New England Book Award for Fiction, an NEA grant; and many other other awards and accolades.

Spoken word artist Justin Lamb, Wally’s son, and Zack Lamothe, author of Connecticut Lore, will open for Wally Lamb at the launch on Oct. 21 at 7 p.m. Poet and friend Bruce Cohen, instructor-in-residence in the English department, will introduce him. The UConn Co-op Bookstore at Storrs Center is at One Royce Circle. The doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets (two tickets with the purchase of one book) are required, and can be purchased online or at the UConn Co-op on Hillside Road. The bookstore will close after the event and reopen in November after completion.

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