Reading Group Center

The Water Cure

By Sophie Mackintosh

1. There has been a huge boom of feminist dystopian novels in the last few years. How does The Water Cure fit into the conversation surrounding these titles and in the culture at large right now?

2. The narrative perspective shifts throughout the novel. Sometimes we hear Lia’s voice, sometimes Grace’s, and sometimes the three sisters collectively. How do the multiple points of view affect your reading experience? 

3. From the ocean they live on, to the backyard pool, to their bathtub, the girls are constantly surrounded by water. How does water function as a symbol within the novel?

4. “We hold hands very tightly, so we can blur where the ends and the sister begins.” The concept of sisterhood is important in The Water Cure, but it’s complicated. How does The Water Cure define a sister? What obligations come along with that role?

5. The rituals and therapies invented by Mother and King are designed to eradicate emotional responses in their daughters. Why do they want to manage their daughters’ emotions? What effect do their therapies end up having on their daughters? 

6. Mother and King cite safety as the reason they keep their daughters isolated from the rest of the world. What does it mean to be safe? Are Lia, Sky, and Grace safe? At what cost?

7. How did your perception of Mother change throughout the course of the novel? In your opinion, how responsible is she for the way the sisters grew up, and how much is King’s fault?

8. It’s not clear what will become of sisters after the novel ends. What do you predict will happen to them?