Drinking The Knock Water: A New Age Pilgrimage
Dr. Roger and Holly Thomas run a successful fertility clinic in New York City. Roger tends to the patients’ physical needs while Holly ministers to their emotional and psychological ones. The couple cherish the routines of their partnership and their happy marriage as they struggle with the pain of a lost child. Holly continues to throw their daughter birthday parties long after the child’s been buried. This painful ritual causes her in-laws to question her sanity and is a source of annual familial strife.
Then the Thomas’s son, Daniel, decides to complete his Bar Mitzvah. While Holly was born Jewish and Roger was born Catholic, neither parent practices his or her childhood religion. They’ve exposed Daniel to both religions for the sake of their families, but neither of them expected him to take it this far. Roger’s devoutly Catholic family cannot accept Daniel’s sincerity, and harsh words are said at his birthday party. Holly and Roger’s resulting fight has surprising and unintended consequences.
All this turmoil takes its toll on the workings of the clinic. The Thomases have hosted something they call the Fertility Tour for over a decade. It’s an opportunity for their clients to connect to one another outside of their familiar surroundings. Holly conducts the tour; she chooses the participants, orchestrates ice-breakers, and mediates conflicts. Normally she’s a skillful operator, but she’s lost her confidence. This year’s tour is populated by an odd and ill-matched assortment of individuals. Needless to say, this tour does not run smoothly. Roger and Holly must find a way to reconnect with one another in order to salvage the retreat.
The Thomases deal with people at their most vulnerable. Fertility is closely tied to an individual’s identity, and both men and women find it difficult to process the inability to have a child. While Holly and Roger have never encountered problems with conceiving, they have suffered a loss and are sympathetic to thwarted expectations. This closeness to struggle and their ongoing religious turmoil provide the pair with a lot of philosophical ground to cover. Is religion necessary to cope with the vicissitudes of life? Is God responsible?
Drinking the Knock Water is at heart an exploration of the role religion plays in the life of an individual. Faith in a god can both connect a soul to others and sow discord. In the end, it’s up to the reader to decide if faith is essential or composed of empty rituals.