The New York Times

Fantasy Island

THREE SISTERS — LIVING OFF THE GRID WITH THEIR ABUSIVE PARENTS — HAVE BEEN RAISED TO FEAR MEN.

“The Water Cure”

By Sophie Mackintosh

269 pages. Doubleday. $25.95

In most apocalyptic tales, the reader is expected to accept certain baseline assumptions. The first is that the apocalypse is real; the second, that the story’s main characters represent its truest victims. Sophie Mackintosh subverts both of these assumptions in her sumptuous yet sparsely written debut, “The Water Cure,” which was longlisted for last year’s Man Booker Prize.

On an island somewhere near a mainland, three

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