Properties of Thirst
by Wiggins, Marianne






Set against the background of World War II, this novel about the meaning of family and the limitations of the American dream follows rancher Rocky Rhodes as he is faced with a threat greater than the LA Water Corporation he's battled for years-the building of a Japanese-American internment camp next to his ranch.





Marianne Wiggins is the author of eight novels, including John Dollar and Evidence of Things Unseen, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award. She has won a Whiting Award, a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, the Heidinger Kafka Prize, and was shortlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction. She lives in Venice, California.





*Starred Review* "The first property of thirst is an element of surprise." Wiggins names ten more unexpected and evocative properties over the course of this grand novel of principled and creative individuals caught in the vise of history. Twins Cas and Rocky Rhodes fled their ill-gotten world of privilege. Cas became an innovative, internationally renowned harpist. A disciple of Thoreau and Emerson, Rocky settled in Owens Valley, California, establishing the Three Chairs Ranch, pursing endless battles over water rights, marrying a French immigrant doctor and accomplished cook, and having twins, Sunny and Stryker. When their mother dies, Cas gives up her cosmopolitan life to help Rocky raise them. Sunny grows up to run a restaurant in tiny Lone Pine that draws the Hollywood crowd. Mischief incarnate, Stryker flees trouble by enlisting and lands in Pearl Harbor. Schiff, a smart, caring Jewish lawyer from Chicago working for the Department of the Interior, is sent to Owens Valley, appalled by his assignment to establish a Japanese American internment camp. Virtuoso Wiggins' ninth novel is an expansive, gloriously symphonic, intricately patterned (if at times exceedingly detailed) tale of racism, civil disobedience, nature's glory, art's radiance, and the imperative to save what you love. Loss, desire, moral dilemmas, reflection, and zesty dialogue with the do-good energy of Frank Capra films generate a WWII home front tale of profound and far-ranging inquiry and imagination, scintillating humor, intrepid romance, and conscience. Copyright 2022 Booklist Reviews.





*Starred Review* "The first property of thirst is an element of surprise." Wiggins names ten more unexpected and evocative properties over the course of this grand novel of principled and creative individuals caught in the vise of history. Twins Cas and Rocky Rhodes fled their ill-gotten world of privilege. Cas became an innovative, internationally renowned harpist. A disciple of Thoreau and Emerson, Rocky settled in Owens Valley, California, establishing the Three Chairs Ranch, pursing endless battles over water rights, marrying a French immigrant doctor and accomplished cook, and having twins, Sunny and Stryker. When their mother dies, Cas gives up her cosmopolitan life to help Rocky raise them. Sunny grows up to run a restaurant in tiny Lone Pine that draws the Hollywood crowd. Mischief incarnate, Stryker flees trouble by enlisting and lands in Pearl Harbor. Schiff, a smart, caring Jewish lawyer from Chicago working for the Department of the Interior, is sent to Owens Valley, appalled by his assignment to establish a Japanese American internment camp. Virtuoso Wiggins' ninth novel is an expansive, gloriously symphonic, intricately patterned (if at times exceedingly detailed) tale of racism, civil disobedience, nature's glory, art's radiance, and the imperative to save what you love. Loss, desire, moral dilemmas, reflection, and zesty dialogue with the do-good energy of Frank Capra films generate a WWII home front tale of profound and far-ranging inquiry and imagination, scintillating humor, intrepid romance, and conscience. Copyright 2022 Booklist Reviews.





A sweeping, cinematic story of love and family set against the dramatic backdrop of World War II and the American West. "You can't save what you don't love." That's the first sentence of Wiggins' new novel and a leitmotif throughout the book-a love story, in the classic sense, as well as a love letter to an American West celebrated by Hollywood even as it was sucked dry by the city of Los Angeles. It's also a lesson in how Wiggins' languid, linguistically lush and lyrical novel, set in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, found its way to completion. As the author's daughter, photographer Lara Porzak, relays in an afterword, Wiggins was just a few chapters shy of completing the book when, in 2016, she suffered a massive stroke that affected her sequencing logic and short-term memory. Porzak worked from Wiggins' notes and with a collaborator to help her mother complete the novel, saving it as a true labor of love. Given that painstaking process and the breathtaking beauty of the bulk of this novel, it would be ungrateful to gripe that the end doesn't quite live up to the standard set by the previous chapters. To be sure, Wiggins set an extremely high bar. The book follows the experiences of several memorable characters, including Rockwell "Rocky" Rhodes, the scion of a wealthy East Coast railroad magnate, who has reinvented himself as a hardworking ranch man and impassioned preservationist; a Chicago-raised Jewish attorney named Schiff, who has been sent by the Department of the Interior to set up an internment camp for Japanese Americans in a desiccated former apple orchard adjacent to Rocky's turf in Lone Pine, California; and Sunny, Rocky's spirited daughter, a fiercely talented, mostly self-taught chef with whom Schiff falls in love. Wiggins' interwoven plotlines-propelled here by romantic and there by familial love-and colorful characters are entrancing and as cinematic as the real-life Westerns that were filmed in the valley in which the book is primarily set. But what makes the novel soar is the way Wiggins can evoke landscapes both interior and exterior, especially the expansive valley that has come to exemplify America's best qualities-and its worst. This majestic novel will satisfy those thirsting for an epic saga of love, family, and the complexities of the American way. Copyright Kirkus 2022 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.





A sweeping, cinematic story of love and family set against the dramatic backdrop of World War II and the American West. "You can't save what you don't love." That's the first sentence of Wiggins' new novel and a leitmotif throughout the book-a love story, in the classic sense, as well as a love letter to an American West celebrated by Hollywood even as it was sucked dry by the city of Los Angeles. It's also a lesson in how Wiggins' languid, linguistically lush and lyrical novel, set in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, found its way to completion. As the author's daughter, photographer Lara Porzak, relays in an afterword, Wiggins was just a few chapters shy of completing the book when, in 2016, she suffered a massive stroke that affected her sequencing logic and short-term memory. Porzak worked from Wiggins' notes and with a collaborator to help her mother complete the novel, saving it as a true labor of love. Given that painstaking process and the breathtaking beauty of the bulk of this novel, it would be ungrateful to gripe that the end doesn't quite live up to the standard set by the previous chapters. To be sure, Wiggins set an extremely high bar. The book follows the experiences of several memorable characters, including Rockwell "Rocky" Rhodes, the scion of a wealthy East Coast railroad magnate, who has reinvented himself as a hardworking ranch man and impassioned preservationist; a Chicago-raised Jewish attorney named Schiff, who has been sent by the Department of the Interior to set up an internment camp for Japanese Americans in a desiccated former apple orchard adjacent to Rocky's turf in Lone Pine, California; and Sunny, Rocky's spirited daughter, a fiercely talented, mostly self-taught chef with whom Schiff falls in love. Wiggins' interwoven plotlines-propelled here by romantic and there by familial love-and colorful characters are entrancing and as cinematic as the real-life Westerns that were filmed in the valley in which the book is primarily set. But what makes the novel soar is the way Wiggins can evoke landscapes both interior and exterior, especially the expansive valley that has come to exemplify America's best qualities-and its worst. This majestic novel will satisfy those thirsting for an epic saga of love, family, and the complexities of the American way. Copyright Kirkus 2022 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.






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