The seedy underbelly of small-town life is exposed in Water Wings, Kristen den Hartog's exuberant first novel, but beauty grows out of the decay and dark secrets. Beautiful, vampish Darlene is getting married again, to shoe-store Reg, a man tied to the family in ways few of them realize. Darlene's grown daughters, Vivian and Hannah, are home for the wedding. Along with their cousin Wren, born with deformed hands and an angelic nature, they revisit the landscape of their childhood: the sinister river that swallowed their father, the forest that seethes with insects. Together they unearth both buried truths and the strange resiliency of love.

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