... clever and arresting ... Mackintosh is up to something far more interesting than a celebration of female dysfunction. Still, I sometimes longed for the narrative reins to be returned to the more hardheaded and clear-eyed Grace ... [The book's] insularity gives The Water Cure the cloistered, ahistorical atmosphere of a fairy tale, where elemental dramas play out much as they have since humanity first began telling stories ... Ingenious and incendiary, The Water Cure is less a warning about the way we live now, the hazardous path society is careering down, than it is about the way we have always lived, parents and children, fathers and daughters, men and women.
Extraordinary ... [Mackintosh] is writing the way that Sofia Coppola would shoot the end of the world: everything is luminous, precise, slow to the point of dread ... The Water Cure isn’t just otherworldly. Doesn’t every dark fantasy expose the parts of real life we’d rather not confront?
Startling ... The prose is both spectral and organic. The writing pushes you very close up against the thing it describes ... it is difficult to gauge how dystopian the outside world actually is ... both an allegory and a playbook of male wrongdoing, and is less exciting only when it feels more exclusively the latter. But then, it’s precisely this collusion between the ordinary and the extraordinary that gives the book its elemental power: its immediacy as a simple story and its completeness on the heightened metaphorical level. It’s a seriously impressive feat of imagination, this: to keep an abstract moral and its concrete realisation absolutely balanced, with both so full and vital.