Dianne Warren
Cool Water


Cool Water by Dianne WarrenFrom the Governor General’s Award-winning author of Cool Water, a poignant and often witty new novel about rash acts and altered lives.

When sharp-edged Frances Moon and her long-time partner encounter a funeral procession that brings traffic to a halt, she finds herself blurting out the barest thread of a story that she never intended to share. The reverberations drive her back to the past and her mother’s old rental property, the lone house in a failed subdivision called Liberty Street.

There, memories are ghosts: Frances’s mother on her way to Nashville to become a country singer; her father determined to run his farm despite his failing eyesight; the town’s bad apple, Dooley Sullivan; a string of renters including the December bride, Esme Bigalow, and a man who met a tragic end, Silas Chance.

When a domestic mishap and a torrential hailstorm send Frances to the questionable safety of an eccentric neighbour’s kitchen, she learns just how unreliable memory is, and that she was not the only one who whose life after Elliot, Saskatchewan was determined by half-truths and bad decisions.

With depth, insight and the subtle humour for which she is known, Dianne Warren gives us an engrossing and touching new novel about disappointment, anger and the redemptive power of kindness.

“Suffused with details of small-town life and feelings of regret, Dianne Warren’s new novel has the seductive melancholy of a country song being played on a long drive home. . . . Warren’s crisp, evocative and controlled prose allows the highly charged emotions of her characters space to breathe. The frustrations and simmering racist violence underlying the community are powerfully conveyed, and as with Warren’s debut novel, Juliet in August, the Saskatchewan landscape is almost hallucinated into life, from the “snows and snows” of winter to the vast, hot, vacant plains of summer. When I finished, I wanted to go straight back to the start and be taken on the journey again, preferably with a soundtrack by Patsy Cline.” —New York Times Book Review

"[I]n Liberty Street, Warren succeeds in making the ordinary extraordinary. She has a gift for drawing every unique character, no matter how quirky or self-centred, with compassion . . . Warren keeps a steady hand on the narrative drive, and her gloriously dry humour and perceptiveness shine throughout." —Toronto Star

"Liberty Street is a gentle meander through complex emotional terrain." —The Globe and Mail

Praise for Dianne Warren’s Cool Water:

National Bestseller
Winner of the 2010 Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction
Longlisted for the 2010 Scotiabank Giller Prize
Winner of the 2010 Saskatchewan Book Awards, Regina Book Award
Finalist for the 35th annual Amazon.ca First Novel Award

Finalist for the High Plains Book Award, Best Woman Writer Category
Shortlisted for the 2010 Saskatchewan Book Awards, Book of the Year Award
Shortlisted for the 2010 Saskatchewan Book Awards, Fiction Award
A 2010 Globe 100 selection

“Warren makes every word she writes about the place believable. Which is good because a strange thing has happened; this oh so ordinary good-hearted little town has become the truly exotic destination.” —National Post

“A mixture of archetypes and surprises, the characters in Cool Water endure and prevail … Unforgettable” —The Globe and Mail

“Forget cowboy legends and sweeping western epics. Cool Water is a quiet, measured telling of one day in a dusty, hot prairie town and the dramas big and small that animate the lives of ordinary, but not uninteresting, folk. A skilled, subtle affirmation of the everyday.” —Telegraph-Journal

“Warren demonstrates a finely tuned understanding of the importance of everyday life that is reminiscent of Carol Shields’ abilities to transform the quotidian into something meaningful.” —Winnipeg Free Press

“The present-day storyline of Cool Water covers only a night and a day, but the characters are so diverse, their histories so rich, it reads like a saga.” —Prairie Books Now

“That two people can share a house and not know they love one another; that a note in a pocket with a woman’s name on it can crack decades of trust—this is a novel about the isolation that we hold secret within ourselves; that makes us envy the true hearts of horses and dogs. This novel shivers with nervous life. It tiptoes the fine edge between joy and weeping.” —Fred Stenson

Cool Water evokes a Canadian west that is, like the American southwest, timeless and powerful and hauntingly beautiful. Dianne Warren’s absolutely authentic characters, with all their loneliness and strength, will be new to you.” —Bonnie Burnard

"Reading Dianne Warren’s Cool Water is like drinking from a deep well after crossing the parched sand hills of the west. Leisurely and unpretentious, her prose lifts the hardscrabble town of Juliet and its people into the realm of myth.” —Joan Clark

"Reading Dianne Warren’s novel, I was reminded of Carol Shields and the creation of unassuming matter-of-fact characters who are, in truth, generously complicated. The writing is understated, wry, and laconic — as if the place itself could not produce any other kind of story.” —David Bergen

“Warm-hearted, witty, original, Cool Water pulls you into its world with its steady, low-key tone, and doesn’t let you go. It has been a long time since I loved a novel so much.” —Sharon Butala

Genre: Literary Fiction
Publication date: September 2015
Page extent: 384 pp (hc)

Canadian rights, HarperCollins Canada
US rights, Putnam Books
Croatian rights, Hena Com

For all other rights contact The Cooke Agency.

Dianne Warren
Photo credit: Don Hall
  Liberty Street is Dianne Warren's second novel, her follow up to the Governor General's Award-winning Cool Water. In addition, she is the author of three books of short fiction and three plays. Her play Serpent in the Night Sky was shortlisted for a Governor General's Award for Drama in 1992. A Reckless Moon and Cool Water were Globe and Mail Best Books. In 2004 she won the Marian Engel Award for a woman writer in mid-career from the Writers' Trust of Canada, and in 2013 she won the Cheryl and Henry Kloppenburg Award for Literary Excellence.