Read & Reviewed by Karen (Retired Bookseller); The Covenant of Water is set in Kerala, in South Westren India & the story centres around the Parambil family over three generations from 1900-1977. Woven powerfully though the novel is a medical mystery affecting generations of some family members.
Although this stunning, epic historical novel is over 700 pages, I was completely absorbed, I loved it and found myself thinking about it after, looking forward to a reread in the future.
Spanning the years 1900 to 1977, The Covenant of Water follows a family in southern India that suffers a peculiar affliction: in every generation, at least one person dies by drowning - and in Kerala, water is everywhere.
At the turn of the century a twelve-year-old girl, grieving the death of her father, is sent by boat to her wedding, where she will meet her forty-year-old husband for the first time. From this poignant beginning, the young girl and future matriarch - known as Big Ammachi - will witness unthinkable changes at home and at large over the span of her extraordinary life, full of the joys and trials of love and the struggles of hardship.
A shimmering evocation of a lost India and of the passage of time itself, The Covenant of Water is a hymn to progress in medicine and to human understanding, and a humbling testament to the hardships undergone by past generations for the sake of those alive today. Imbued with humour, deep emotion and the essence of life, it is one of the most masterful literary novels published in recent years.
Fiction: general and literary, Family life fiction, 0
Abraham Verghese (author)
H: 234mm W: 153mm Spine: 51mm
Weight: 911 grams