A National Bestseller A New Yorker Best Book of 2022
Fifteen years after the publication of Evidence of Things Unseen, National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize finalist Marianne Wiggins returns with a “big, bold book” (USA TODAY) destined to be an American classic: a sweeping masterwork set during World War II about the meaning of family and the limitations of the American Dream.
Rockwell “Rocky” Rhodes has spent years fiercely protecting his California ranch from the LA Water Corporation. It is here where he and his beloved wife Lou raised their twins, Sunny and Stryker, and it is here where Rocky has mourned Lou in the years since her death.
As Sunny and Stryker reach the cusp of adulthood, the country teeters on the brink of war. Stryker decides to join the fight, deploying to Pearl Harbor not long before the bombs strike. Soon, Rocky and his family find themselves facing yet another incomprehensible tragedy.
Rocky is determined to protect his remaining family and the land where they’ve loved and lost so much. But when the government decides to build a Japanese American internment camp next to the ranch, Rocky realizes that the land faces even bigger threats than the LA watermen he’s battled for years. Complicating matters is the fact that the idealistic Department of the Interior man assigned to build the camp, who only begins to understand the horror of his task after it may be too late, becomes infatuated with Sunny and entangled with the Rhodes family.
Properties of Thirst is a “magnificent” (Colum McCann) novel that is both universal and intimate. It is the story of a changing American landscape and an examination of one of the darkest periods in this country’s past, told through the stories of the individual loves and losses that weave together to form the fabric of our shared history. Ultimately, it is an unflinching distillation of our nation’s essence—and a celebration of the bonds of love and family that persist against all odds.
Marianne Wiggins is the author of eight novels, including John Dollar and Evidence of Things Unseen, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award. She has won a Whiting Award, a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, the Heidinger Kafka Prize, and was shortlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction. She lives in Venice, California.
Gabra Zackman knows romance. Her clever and “thrilling romantic caper” (Library Journal) Bod Squad series was inspired by the more than one hundred romance and women’s fiction titles she has narrated for audio. She divides her time between her native New York City and Denver, Colorado.
Why We Love It
“I was lucky enough to inherit Properties of Thirst, and when I first saw the size of the bound manuscript that arrived in the mail, I thought it would take me a long time to read. But I read it in just two (long) sittings, almost holding my breath the entire time. From the very first pages, I knew that everything I’d heard about Marianne Wiggins was true, and that I was in the hands of a master. She has such command of language—but isn’t afraid to be playful, too!—and her characters, and their longings and losses and all-consuming loves just breathe with so much life. These are characters who go against the grain, who aren’t afraid to fight for what they believe in or for the people they love. By the end of Properties of Thirst, they felt like family to me.”
—Carina G., Senior Editor, on Properties of Thirst
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio (August 2, 2022)
"The consistent, fluid, and engrossing nature of this majestic novel is rendered even more remarkable by the fact that it was completed after the author suffered a massive stroke in 2016. Set in California during WWII, when Japanese–Americans were being interned by the U.S. Government, this ambitious saga of family, romance, and grief is poignantly narrated by Gabra Zackman and Stephen Greybill."