One night, everyone on Earth has the same dream--a dream of being guided to a watery death by a loved one on November 1. When they wake up, most people agree: after Halloween, the world will end. In the wake of this haunting dream and saddled with its uncertainty, Lyd and her daughter, Mott, navigate a changed world, wrestling with how to make choices when you really don't know what comes next.
... a book about a dream, and it reads like a dream too: melancholy and luminous, looping and discursive, resistant to easy interpretation ... Devotees of apocalypse fiction should be warned that Drowning Practice is not a tale of bold heroes banding together to save the day, nor is it a meticulously rendered portrait of civilizational collapse ... In general, Meginnis seems less interested in what people do during an apocalypse than in what it feels like to live during an apocalypse ... The plot meanders, not so much picking up speed as packing on new, weird stories along the way...If this all sounds like the way stories work not in novels but in dreams, my strong suspicion is that this is no coincidence ... What keeps the novel grounded through it all is young Mott. Readers will root for her ... often feels like a parable of unfulfillment, and Mott is our hope, our chance, our dream of the future ... Some of the most powerful writing in Drowning Practice comes in the book’s mesmerizing final pages, a charged evocation of mood through the plain description of simple things ... certainly slow in parts, and some of its quirkier tangents might have been excised or reshaped to better serve the central narrative. But like a dream, it follows its own logic, and like many dreams, it has stayed with me in the waking hours since I emerged.
... dark, engaging ... The world Meginnis crafts for what could be the last nine months of life on Earth is haunting and haunted, a reality in which people who are too afraid of death to either take their own lives or wait until the end of the world beg strangers to kill them. But against this grim backdrop, Meginnis engagingly finds ways to bring Mott and Lyd real happiness while avoiding clichés or tired, easy answers ... Twisty and moving, this is an apocalypse novel that will keep readers guessing till the last page.
There’s a lot going on, and it’s a little baggy, but Meginnis writes well about the dread Lyd endured when living with David, and an ambiguous ending leaves many open questions to keep the reader pondering. Many writers continue to imagine the end of things, but Meginnis has found a new way to make it disturbing.