On a searing summer Friday, Eddie Chapman has been stuck for hours in a traffic jam. There are accidents along the highway, but ambulances and police are conspicuously absent. When he decides to abandon his car and run home, he sees that the trees along the edge of a stream have been burnt, and the water in the stream bed is gone. Something is very wrong. When he arrives home, the power is out and there is no running water. The pipes everywhere, it seems, have gone dry. Eddie and his wife, Laura, find themselves thrust together with their neighbours while a sense of unease thickens in the stifling night air. Thirst takes place in the immediate aftermath of a mysterious disaster - the Chapmans and their neighbours suffer the effects of the heat, their thirst, and the terrifying realisation that no one may be coming to help. As violence rips through the community, Eddie and Laura are forced to recall secrets from their past and question their present humanity. In crisp and convincing prose, Ben Warner compels readers to do the same. What might you do to survive?
A debut literary thriller about the disturbing measures a couple and their neighbours take to survive when the water runs dry without warning
A terrifying thriller ... Visceral Entertainment Weekly An emergency from its very first sentence, Thirst is a literary thriller that summons the survivalist terror of The Road and the beautiful, aching humanity of writers like Ursula K. Le Guin and Jose Saramago. It's also a tense, prescient journey into a collective environmental nightmare - one that's not very hard to imagine actually happening. This book tapped into fears I didn't know I had. Warner has given us a worthy, shocking, and poetic debut Patrick Somerville, author of This Bright River and The Cradle Thirst mirrors the deep anxiety so many feel about modern life: that its complexity makes it fragile and that we're all living on the edge of disaster Mary Doria Russell, author of The Sparrow and Epitaph A gripping parable of love and survival as well as a harrowing exploration of our darkest selves. Thrilling and thought-provoking, and dazzling in scope, Benjamin Warner's debut is a surprising, profound portrait of desperation and humanity - and who we are when we are stripped down to our most basic needs Catherine Chung, author of Forgotten Country Warner's devastating and breathtaking debut is a novel about water. But it's also about what it means to be in love, what it means to share - or to think you are sharing - your life with another person. This is a story about community (that ever slippery union) and, further still, about humanity ... Warner taps into a universal: Even at our lowest, our loneliest, and in our most desperate hour, we are still human, still connected ... Read this book. It will make you a better person Hannah Pittard, author of Reunion
Benjamin Warner teaches creative writing at Towson University. He holds an MFA from Cornell University. Thirst is his first novel. He lives in Baltimore, USA.