The Weight of Water
is a 1997
bestselling novel by Anita Shreve
. Half of the novel is historical fiction
that speculates about the true events of the Smuttynose Island
murders of 1873.
In 1873, two women living on the Isles of Shoals
, a group of islands off the coast of New Hampshire
, were brutally murdered. A third woman, named Maren, survived by cowering in a sea cave until dawn. More than a century later, Jean, a magazine photographer working on a photoessay about the murders, returns to the Isles with her husband, Thomas, and their five-year-old daughter, Billie, aboard a boat skippered by her brother-in-law, Rich, who has brought along his girlfriend, Adaline. As Jean becomes immersed in the details of the 19th-century murders, Thomas and Adaline find themselves drawn together-with potentially ruinous consequences.
The novel is split into two parts: the present day, told from Jean's point of view and in the present tense, and 1873, told in first person from Maren's point of view as a memoir (past tense).
A film adaptation of the same name
, directed by Kathryn Bigelow
, was released in 2002
. It starred Sean Penn
, Catherine McCormack
, Elizabeth Hurley
and Sarah Polley