Review | Water Damage: a novel of liquid mystery by Vivian McInerny


“At eighteen years old, I desperately wanted to be valued for my big ideas but was too easily flattered by any attention paid to how I looked.” – Liv Edlen

I loved Liv Edlen’s story.  I often felt like I was like Alice dropped off in Wonderland (i.e. Bath with Richard Wilcox as the guide) without a map but I wasn’t about to complain.

A young cancer survivor, Liv finds herself abandoned (in a way) by her family when she’s finally recovered, her siblings feeling left out with all the attention given to her during her illness. After being emancipated from her parents, she strikes it out on her own with an unlikely alter ego, Una. All this sets the stage for the life she encounters in Bath when she’s set to study art and the people she meets, most of all, Richard Wilcox, an eccentric personality who’s pretty larger than life and while I found him detestable, I could understand Liv’s attraction to him as well.  At times, I felt she was so clueless, taking everything with a shrug of her shoulders in a way. But then she’s 18 in the story which is set in the 70’s with punk rock getting to be all the rage, those times we see through Una’s wild adventures.

But it’s Liv’s story through and through and the whole time I was rooting for her to get a grip on what was going on, and stay away from the questionable (bad) guys. But of course, she doesn’t, and she ends up mired in a mystery that costs her more than she probably bargained for. But like Alice in Wonderland, there is a way out. She just has to find it, and in the process maybe find herself.

Water Damage: a novel of liquid mystery Book Cover Water Damage: a novel of liquid mystery
Vivian McInerny
Literary Fiction
April 6, 2016

American student Liv Edlen lands at the Bath Academy of Arts in England in the 1970s. It's a rare time when creative working class kids mingle with bohemian aristocrats, when art seems revolutionary, and culture clashes prove inevitable. She meets a wealthy, married, man with a penchant for collecting art and people and finds herself entangled in a web of deceit. But who is using whom?

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