Reviews

  • Adultery is often sentimentalised in fiction, but in her ferociously well written second novel Molly McCloskey gives it to us straight ... Each brilliant vignette offers a new angle on Alice's ballooning sense of disorientation ... In spite of its lyrical title and exquisite prose, When Light Is Like Water is a brutal examination of sextual self-delusion. But it also has much that's memorable to say about love - not the affair kind, but the real thing... McCloskey writes with shattering insight on loss and the way that it can make us feel tender towards the world

    Guardian
  • Powerful ... When Light Is Like Water is a tender depiction of love and loss that combines the personal pull of a memoir with the precision of a short story ... McCloskey's novel is packed with wisdom, and never heavy-handed with it. The details of the affair and the tawdry aspect of forbidden desire are brilliantly related

    Sunday Times (Ireland)
  • McCloskey describes everything with a luminous exactitude ... It's entirely beguiling

    Mail on Sunday
  • A thoughtful meditation on connection set against the backdrop of a world on the move ... Though McCloskey has no shortage of ideas, she also engages the heart: she's particularly good on the contrariness of our desires ... Fans of Anne Enright will find much to admire and enjoy.

    Daily Mail
  • Luminous ... As a narrator, Alice is a combination of coolness and intensity, passion and unsentimentality, nostalgia and clear-sightedness

    Irish Times
  • McCloskey has the observational eye of the outsider, able to pinpoint the intricacies and mannerisms of the Irish people and landscape. ... But the writing's the thing. Oh, the writing. McCloskey is the master of the metaphor, the doyenne of the deceptively simple sentence. ... Hers is a wondrous turn of phrase, and yet somehow it makes Alice's life and interiority seem all the more real

    Sunday Business Post
  • Brilliant ... The author's ability to stir serendipity while steadily evoking atmosphere is remarkable ... McCloskey has a limpid, even liquid style: it's as if you were surreptitiously reading someone's chatty and extremely revealing letter ... Rest assured, When Light Is Like Water will feature on a few end-of-year lists

    rte.ie
  • Refreshing ... McCloskey is an expert storyteller

    Sunday Times (UK)
  • When Light is Like Water is as gripping as a memoir and as intimate as a poem. Molly McCloskey has written a novel that is both urgent and reflective, a tender and unsentimental exploration of love's dark corners. It is brilliant: her finest book yet.

    Anne Enright
  • Molly McCloskey's prose has such immense authority, precision and seriousness. This shimmering, beautiful, restless work will stir recognitions without seeming to try. If you've ever fallen in love with someone you shouldn't have fallen in love with - as who hasn't, once or twice - be prepared to encounter the novel as mirror, her finest book to date, a triumph.

    Joseph O'Connor