In the suburbs, a young mother is looking after her two children. She has been a successful career woman in control of her life, sexually aware and used to attracting any man's undivided attention ... if she wanted to.
But now her control is slipping away. Motherhood is devouring her identity. Her two children depend on her and her husband adores her new role in the home. He is no longer focused on her. Her children are stealing his affection. Her own desires are secondary to everyone else's.
She wants to reclaim her sense of self, her power. Just because she is a mother doesn't mean she will protect those she is supposed to love.
For her, everything is conditional. And everyone is in danger.
STILL WATERS is one of those books that will stir endless debate on a number of topics ranging from the oppression of women to the motherhood "myth", sexual inequality to co-parenting and the list goes on. Most of what is depicted within the book will strike a chord with mothers, and what may be most shocking of all is that we more than likely WON'T be shocked. The reactions of the unnamed mother of the book to her situation ARE extreme and executed with that blankness of survival instinct and sheer exhaustion that is present to some extent in all new mothers, or at the very least in those not backed up by nannies and helpful extended families. The woman of the book can no longer nurture, such is her sense of loss of self, that she seeks to remove herself from what is to her an untenable situation, in the worst possible way of all.
There is no "chilling twist" in this novel as you can see it coming a mile off; this whole book has doom hanging over it from the very first page. It is a sad piece of work, yet a highly relevant one. Australian author Camilla Noli does not play the blame game in her novel and has shown admirable restraint in backing down from the moralising and sweeping generalizations that could easily have been included, especially about the differences in social roles of new mother to new father. The incremental shift from the sane, albeit tired inner monologue to the disinterested, and then calculating, has been masterfully played by this debut author.
Included in the back of this book is a short Q & A with the author (herself the mother of two children) and helpful notes for book clubs and reading groups.