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Water Wings [Hardcover]

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Item description for Water Wings by Kristen Den Hartog...

Water Wings by Kristen Den Hartog

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Item Specifications...

Pages   269
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.44" Width: 5.6" Height: 1.02"
Weight:   1.08 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Feb 5, 2004
Publisher   MacAdam/Cage
ISBN  1931561613  
ISBN13  9781931561617  

Availability  0 units.

More About Kristen Den Hartog

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Kristen den Hartog is a novelist and memoir writer. Her previous novels are "Water Wings", "The Perpetual Ending", which was a finalist for the Toronto Book Award, and "Origin of Haloes". "The Occupied Garden: A Family Memoir of War-torn Holland "was written with her sister, Tracy Kasaboski, and was a Toronto Globe and Mail" Notable Book of 2008. She also writes a blog, Blog of Green Gables (http: //, about her experiences reading children's literature with her daughter. She lives in Toronto with her family.

Kristen Den Hartog was born in 1965.

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Product Categories

1Books > Bargain Books
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Contemporary
3Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Literary
4Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Short Stories > British

Reviews - What do customers think about Water Wings?

Enjoyable Read for Passing the Time  Jan 13, 2005
You often hear of the ties binding women. Water Wings, through the help of one family explores what separates them. Their unique differences and the secrets not shared. Water Wings reads like a slow swim on a calm Sunday morning. It's smooth, even as it switches from one woman's perspective to the next. The family includes two generations; Darlene and her two daughters Hannah and Vivian and Darlene's sister Angie and her daughter Wren.

Except for two small entries from Angie, Water Wings is written from the perspective of the three girls. The story begins with Hannah traveling back for Darlene's wedding. As the wedding gets closer we get to see glimpses into the three girls' childhood and how they witnessed and reacted to the people and events around them.

Hannah spent a lot time in her own little world. She always wanted to be a Fergus, the family next store. At least until she got to know the dark secret that lived within the house. Hannah remembers days of the week as colours like Saturday is opaque pink, the day her father died. She is the younger of the two and was probably the more spoiled by her father. She takes Vivian's ridicule without question or malice. Hannah is the interesting one. She contains many dark and startling secrets from her childhood never sharing them with anyone, like the day Hannah witnessed Stuart Fergus kill a kitten then made her help bury it. She adored her father Mick and was the one most hurt and confused by his leaving.

Vivian is the most like her mother although she doesn't know it and would thoroughly deny it. She struts around in bikinis in front of her mother's boyfriends. She's cold and calculated and her words sting. Especially the way she talks to Hannah. She takes great pride in correcting Hannah and telling her she's wrong. A way very similar to how Darlene treats Angie. Vivian is the stronger of the two. Mostly to counteract her weepy and dramatic mother.

Wren was born with a birth defect in her arms giving the appearance of broken wings. She's an old soul with a strong voice to protect herself from the offences of others. During Brownies in which her mother forced her to go they always ended the evening with a circle. No one wanted to hold her hands. Wren feels all life is sacred down to the tiniest insect. She sees everything from a perspective of beauty and love. All this despite her emotionally stagnant mother.

One of the biggest mysteries throughout is why Hannah and Vivian's father left. It dwells on the girls' minds, especially Hannah. Their parents seemed devastated by the divorce which confused them even more. The story is anticlimactic but an enjoyable read for passing the time. It's an interesting character study of women and what we do to one another. The secrets we keep and most importantly how each of us view and experience the same events differently.
Very highly recommended and entertaining reading  Aug 10, 2004
Still vampish and beautiful, Darlene Oelpke is getting married again. This time it's to Reg, shoe-store man who is associated with the family in some ways most of them aren't yet aware of. Vivian and Hannah are Darlene's adult daughters and are home for the wedding along with their cousin Wren who was born with deformed hands and an angelic nature. Together, Vivian, Hannah, and Wren revisit the sinister river where Darlene's husband was lost. They also discover distrubingly hidden secrets and the enduring survival power of love. Kristen Den Hartog is an imaginative, skilled, and "reader engaging" author. Very highly recommended and entertaining reading, Water Wings is her second novel and clearly establishes her as a first write writer that will leave her readers looking eagerly toward her next title.

A lyrical treatment of love and loss  Feb 11, 2004
Water Wings is this author's lyrical second novel, fashioned into an exquisite story of two sisters, Hannah and Vivian, and their cousin Wren. A terrible disappointment to her mother, Wren is born imperfect, with deformed hands, but has a soul filled with light, her world one of grace and acceptance that she often doesn't receive from the world. All of the girls remember their earliest years in rural Canada vividly, the lush countryside the backdrop for their adventures and life lessons.

Soon after the final divorce decree from his wife, Darlene, Mick dies in a freak accident. The beautiful, Darlene and her husband make a striking couple and the girls cannot comprehend how their once loving parents could fall out of love. Years later, Darlene makes a decision to remarry, this time to a local shoe storeowner and the sisters must come home for the wedding.

Upon their return, long-forgotten memories surface and they are drawn back, moment by moment, into a past filled with both the joy of discovery and the permanent etching of loss. We see the past as it evolves, slowly, measured through the eyes of the little girls, Hannah, Vivian and Wren. The children's hearts are exposed, their innocence shattered by their parent's separation and eventual divorce. The chapters about Wren are particularly insightful, because of the small tortures visited upon a girl who is different than her peers. The cruelties she endures, each a challenge to a fragile young ego, make her a stronger person.

Before the wedding, Hannah and Vivian reconnect, thinking of the irony of Darlene's marriage. Mick and Darlene's emotional connections have been destroyed by Darlene's incessant need for attention, which precipitates the end of the marriage. Yet she continues collecting men, because they allow an escape and comfort in the moment. Darlene's substance is in her beauty; that is her only legacy to her daughters. Using their own resources, Hannah and Vivian discover another path toward self-definition, accessing memories of a loving father, scattered like so many jewels, as they move farther away from the green-painted house. Their cousin, the wise Wren, with her own little daughter, is the mainstay of the girlhood triad.

These are females who have somehow lost their center and Mick's untimely death changes everything. Mick leaves a legacy, however, an abundance of love to guide his daughters, a presence to help navigate the difficult years ahead. Unfortunately, Darlene squanders the affection and natural beauty she takes for granted and is unable to do much else with her life. Unlike their mother, the girls find meaning in their memories, their history, each a part of the fabric of the present and necessary to the whole, where even loss relinquishes its bitterness. Luan Gaines/2004.

talented new canadian author  Apr 5, 2003
Water Wings is a beautiful journey into childhood and three children's understanding of the adult world. Vivien - the realist with a razor-sharp intelligence, Wren - Vivien's cousin who was born with webbed hands and the natural sensibility of a dryad, and Hannah - Vivien's sister, a child who lives in a world of her own, who sees the days of the week in different colours, and for whom memory is a fluid, ephemeral thing. Through these three Water Wings explores the relationship of Vivien and Hannah's beautiful mother Darlene and their father Mick.
Den Hartog conjures up the beauty of the wild Ontario landscape in vivid colour and captures the fragility and poignancy of childhood innocence.
I loved this book  Mar 17, 2003
This is definately one of my favourite books of all time. I could not put it down. It was easy to read and I always wanted to turn the page to see what strange twist would happen next. The story is about three girls, Hannah, Vivian and Wren, and how they grew up in a small town with slightly dysfunctional families. This book is beautifully written and I would recommend it to anybody who loves reading!

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