Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
From award-winning author Thomas Moran comes the breathtaking story of a
young woman's betrayal, a haunting portrait of the extraordinary beauty and
inexorable violence of a divided Ireland.
Thomas Moran made his impressive literary debut only three years ago with The
Man in the Box, winner of the Book-of-the-Month Club's Stephen Crane Award
for First Fiction. The New Yorker compared The Man in the Box to the
diary of Anne Frank, and the Los Angeles Times compared Thomas Moran to Elie
Wiesel. On the heels of this success came what Booklist predicted would be
"for many. . .the best book of the year." The World I Made for Her
confirmed the depth and breadth of Moran's talent. "Now, to A Farewell to
Arms and The English Patient," Time magazine harkened, "add another
memorable star-crossed Red Cross romance."
And now, in what will surely be his most acclaimed novel yet, Tom Moran's
spare, piercing language effortlessly carries us to the harbor towns of southern
Ireland. Una Moss is a bright, young medical student struggling for independence
from the world of her family's secret loyalties. Aidan Ferrel is the man who
wins her love, the stranger she chooses to trust. Water Carry Me is the
story of a singular love pitted against the power of political passionthe
chronicle of a young woman's journey from innocence to betrayal, across the
vivid brightness and darkness that is the heartbreaking landscape of her beloved
Una was told as a child that her parents died in a car accident. Over the
years, she learned the truth: that they were killed by IRA terrorists. How
do the ways in which Una's friends and her grandfather speak about her
parents' involvement in the violence in Northern Ireland offer insight into
the way many Irish people feel about The Troubles?
The violence in Northern Ireland affects the lives of Moran's characters
in the "sunny south," both directly and indirectly. How impervious
are Una and her friends to the violence, on an emotional level and on a
When Des and Mick are captured by the "Specials" from Dublin,
Rawney's behavior changes distinctly. Is his paranoia justified? What does
this fear foreshadow for Una's future?
Una's overcoming her fear of the sea also marks, on some level, the end of
her innocence. In what way might the title of the novel also be a metaphor
for Una's attitude towards the less fortuitous events of her life?
When Des is murdered, Una's survival instinct kicks in, and she sets out
to make his death appear to be an accident. Why, then, do you think she goes
to all of her friends and family, Aidan included, to gather information
about the mysterious Colm O'Fearghail despite being warned against it? Do
you think Una has cause to fear for her safety?
Why do you think Una, despite the intelligence and savvy with which she
conducts all other areas of her life, is so easily fooled by Aidan? Is it
simply because of her love for him or is there another possible explanation?
At the end of the novel, Una finds herself a victim of the tumultuous
political climate of Ireland. In what way is Aidan also a victim of time and
place? Do you think Aidan had a choice in making Una carry the semtex? Do
you sense he hoped he could make it his last act -- the thing that might
allow him to break free of his ties to the IRA and marry the woman he loves?
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