The English Experience


The Body is Water

Finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award

An ALA Notable Book of the year

Finalist for the Minnesota Book Award

Barnes and Noble “Discover Great New Writers”

Three months pregnant after a two-night stand, Jane Haus is suddenly adrift in her life, as another small life floats within her. After resigning her job teaching English, she returns home to confront her ambivalence about impending motherhood – drawn by an irresistible inner homing device to the ramshackle house on the New Jersey shore where she passed a tumultuous childhood. Here unresolved specters of guilt and recrimination still haunt the living, hovering over Jane; her gruff and eccentric father who spends his days in a room full of clocks; and her brilliant, estranged sister Bee, as efficiently organized as the summer is formless. Amid the soothing crash of water, in the blissfully hot privacy of an attic filled with memories, Jane will try to piece together the puzzle of her family’s history. And in a chaotic season of growth and change, she will seek an understanding of the mother she and her sister never knew… reaching out for the elusive solace only family can offer.


“She writes so sensitively about the experience of pregnancy that you won’t soon forget Jane’s intimate relationship with her developing child.”

“Extraordinary… Schumacher conveys the pain of family life in wonderful, muted, edgy prose… She knows just how to construct the secretive and stubborn facade of a family.”
-Kirkus Reviews