book cover of Drowning Ruth

Drowning Ruth

(2000)
A novel by

 
 
Awards
Oprah's Book Club Best Book (nominee)
For 19th-century novelists--from Jane Austen to George Eliot, Flaubert to Henry James--social constraint gave a delicious tension to their plots. Yet now our relaxed morals and social mobility have rendered many of the classics untenable. Why shouldn't Maisie know what she knows? It will all come out in family therapy anyway. The vogue for historical novels depends in part on our pleasure in reentering a world of subtle cues and repressed emotion, a time in which a young woman could destroy her life by saying yes to the wrong man. After all, there was no reliable birth control, no divorce, no chance of an independent life or a scandal-free separation.

Christina Schwarz's suspenseful debut pivots on two of the lost "virtues" of the past: silence and stoicism. Drowning Ruth opens in 1919, on the heels of the influenza epidemic that followed the First World War. Although there were telephones and motor cars and dance halls in the small towns of Wisconsin in those years, the townspeople remained rigid and forbidding. As a young woman, Amanda Starkey, a Lutheran farmer's daughter, had been firmly discouraged from an inappropriate marriage with a neighboring Catholic boy. A few years later, as a nurse in Milwaukee, she is seduced by a dishonorable man. Her shame sends her into a nervous breakdown, and she returns to the family farm. Within a year, though, her beloved sister Mathilde drowns under mysterious circumstances. And when Mathilde's husband, Carl, returns from the war, he finds his small daughter, Ruth, in Amanda's tenacious grip, and she will tell him nothing about the night his wife drowned. Amanda's parents, too, are long gone. "I killed my parents. Had I mentioned that?" muses Amanda.
I killed them because I felt a little fatigued and suffered from a slight, persistent cough. Thinking I was overworked and hadn't been getting enough sleep, I went home for a short visit, just a few days to relax in the country while the sweet corn and the raspberries were ripe. From the city I brought fancy ribbon, two boxes of Ambrosia chocolate, and a deadly gift... I gave the influenza to my mother, who gave it to my father, or maybe it was the other way around."
Schwarz is a skillful writer, weaving her grim tale across several decades, always returning to the fateful night of Mathilde's death. Drowning Ruth displays her gift for pacing and her harsh insistence on the right ending, rather than the cheery one. --Regina Marler


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Praise for this book

"Mesmerizing." - Anita Shreve


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Used availability for Christina Schwarz's Drowning Ruth

Hardback Editions

July 2001 : USA Hardback
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Title: Drowning Ruth
Author(s): Christina Schwarz
ISBN: 0-606-21165-9 / 978-0-606-21165-9 (USA edition)
Publisher: Demco Media
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


July 2001 : USA Library Binding
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Title: Drowning Ruth
Author(s): Christina Schwarz
ISBN: 0-613-36804-5 / 978-0-613-36804-9 (USA edition)
Publisher: San Val
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


September 2001 : UK Hardback
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Title: Drowning Ruth
Author(s): Christina Schwarz
ISBN: 0-7531-6510-4 / 978-0-7531-6510-2 (UK edition)
Publisher: ISIS Publishing
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


January 2001 : USA Hardback
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Title: Drowning Ruth
Author(s): Christina Schwarz
ISBN: 1-56895-959-1 / 978-1-56895-959-7 (USA edition)
Publisher: Wheeler Pub Inc
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   


September 2000 : USA Hardback
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Title: Drowning Ruth: A Novel (Oprah's Book Club)
Author(s): Christina Schwarz
ISBN: 0-385-50253-2 / 978-0-385-50253-5 (USA edition)
Publisher: Doubleday
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


August 2000 : USA Hardback
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Title: Drowning Ruth
Author(s): Christina SCHWARZ
ISBN: 0-385-49971-X / 978-0-385-49971-2 (USA edition)
Publisher: Doubleday
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


August 2000 : UK Hardback
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Title: Drowning Ruth: The chilling psychological thriller
Author(s): Christina Schwarz
ISBN: 0-7472-7167-4 / 978-0-7472-7167-3 (UK edition)
Publisher: Headline
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon AU   


2000 : USA Hardback
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Title: Drowning Ruth
Author(s): Christina Schwarz
ISBN: 0-7394-1509-3 / 978-0-7394-1509-2 (USA edition)
Publisher: Doubleday
Availability: Amazon   


Paperback Editions

September 2003 : USA Mass Market Paperback
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Title: Drowning Ruth
Author(s): Christina Schwarz
ISBN: 0-345-46035-9 / 978-0-345-46035-6 (USA edition)
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


2000 : UK Paperback
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Title: Drowning Ruth: The chilling psychological thriller
Author(s): Christina Schwarz
ISBN: 0-7553-0536-1 / 978-0-7553-0536-0 (UK edition)
Publisher: Headline Review
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   


June 2002 : UK Paperback
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Title: Drowning Ruth
Author(s): Christina Schwarz
ISBN: 0-7531-6511-2 / 978-0-7531-6511-9 (UK edition)
Publisher: ISIS Publishing
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


July 2001 : UK Paperback
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Title: Drowning Ruth
Author(s): Christina Schwarz
ISBN: 0-7472-6465-1 / 978-0-7472-6465-1 (UK edition)
Publisher: Headline
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


August 2001 : USA Paperback
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Title: Drowning Ruth
Author(s): Christina Schwarz
ISBN: 1-56895-179-5 / 978-1-56895-179-9 (USA edition)
Publisher: Wheeler Pub Inc
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   


July 2001 : USA Paperback
thumb

Title: Drowning Ruth: A Novel (Oprah's Book Club)
Author(s): Christina Schwarz
ISBN: 0-345-43910-4 / 978-0-345-43910-9 (USA edition)
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


July 2001 : UK Paperback
thumb

Title: Drowning Ruth: The chilling psychological thriller
Author(s): Christina Schwarz
ISBN: 0-7472-6771-5 / 978-0-7472-6771-3 (UK edition)
Publisher: Headline
Availability: Amazon UK   


January 2001 : UK Paperback
thumb

Title: Drowning Ruth: The chilling psychological thriller
Author(s): Christina Schwarz
ISBN: 0-7472-7285-9 / 978-0-345-44668-8 (UK edition)
Publisher: Headline
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


2001 : USA Paperback
thumb

Title: Drowning Ruth
Author(s): Christina Schwarz
ISBN: 0-345-44668-2 / 978-0-345-44668-8 (USA edition)
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Availability: Amazon   


Audio Editions

September 2001 : UK Audio Cassette
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Title: Drowning Ruth
Author(s): Christina Schwarz
ISBN: 0-00-712663-8 / 978-0-00-712663-7 (UK edition)
Publisher: HarperCollins
Availability: Amazon UK   


May 2001 : USA Audio Cassette
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Title: Drowning Ruth
Author(s): Christina Schwarz
ISBN: 0-553-52853-X / 978-0-553-52853-4 (USA edition)
Publisher: Random House Audio
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


September 2000 : USA Audio edition
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Title: Drowning Ruth
Author(s): Christina Schwarz
Publisher: Random House Audio
Availability: Amazon   


September 2000 : Canada Audio edition
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Title: Drowning Ruth
Author(s): Christina Schwarz
Publisher: Random House Audio
Availability: Amazon CA   


September 2000 : UK Audio edition
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Title: Drowning Ruth
Author(s): Christina Schwarz
Publisher: Random House Audio
Availability: Amazon UK   


Kindle Editions

April 2016 : Australia, UK Kindle edition
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Title: Drowning Ruth (Oprah's Book Club)
Author(s): Christina Schwarz
Publisher: Review
Availability: Amazon UK   Amazon AU   


November 2008 : USA, Canada Kindle edition
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Title: Drowning Ruth: A Novel (Oprah's Book Club)
Author(s): Christina Schwarz
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon CA