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'At the Water's Edge': A look at 'Water for Elephants' writer Sara Gruen's upcoming work

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(Read caption) 'At the Water's Edge' is by Sara Gruen.

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Water for Elephants” author Sara Gruen will release a new novel later this month with the book “At the Water’s Edge.”

“Edge,” which will be released on March 31, centers on Maddie Hyde, an American whose husband and his friend decide to go looking for the Loch Ness monster as World War II rages. Maddie finds herself changed forever by her encounters with the villagers living in the Scottish town where they end up. 

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“I wanted to juxtapose how the war affected ordinary people, for whom it was inescapable, with how it affected the privileged, who could choose to watch from a distance,” Gruen told Publishers Weekly. “Edge” includes a love triangle, as did “Elephants,” and she said of the plot device, “Love triangles are a mainstay of storytelling in all its forms—novels, movies, fairy tales, legends, folklore, even religious texts—because conflicting passions are ubiquitous to human nature. Whether that excuses acting upon such impulses is an age-old and oft-revisited question, as is whether there are any circumstances under which it’s acceptable to break with what is a basic tenet of most human societies. This is certainly one of the reasons we explore it so often in fiction, along with consequences and whether they’re always deserved.” 

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Gruen is also the author of such titles as “The Ape Kingdom” and “Riding Lessons.” Her novel “Elephants” was turned into a movie starring Robert Pattinson, Reese Witherspoon, and Christoph Waltz

USA Today writer Jocelyn McClurg included “Edge” on her list of “10 notable new titles to watch for.” However, while reviews so far are scarce because the book has not yet been released, one publication was not impressed with “Edge.” Kirkus Reviews called the book “silly.” 

The publication described the plot as “three spoiled brats from Philadelphia go to Scotland… ‘I pointed out, as gently as I could, what I'd hoped was obvious: that it made no sense whatsoever to throw ourselves into the middle of an ocean crawling with U-boats on a quest to find a monster that probably didn't even exist,’ explains Maddie Hyde… If only she could have gotten this across to Gruen… Gruen's handling of air raids, food rations, sad telegrams and reports from the front makes the thinness of the story's premise all the more awkward. At heart, this is an unlikely romance novel. A little too unlikely.”


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