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Waterland Hardcover – Oct 3 1983


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Hardcover, Oct 3 1983
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--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 310 pages
  • Publisher: William Heinemann Ltd; First US Edition edition (Oct. 3 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0434753300
  • ISBN-13: 978-0434753307
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 14.2 x 3.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 499 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,576,094 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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4.6 out of 5 stars
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on Feb. 16 1999
Format: Paperback
The aspect of this novel that I found most intriguing was Crick's fascination with history. He is plagued, as we all are, by the omnipresent question "Why?", and the novel is the story of his quest for the eternal answer. He views the persent as the ultimate indefineable dimension of time; the time when we as humans are the most vulnerable and unable to make heads from tails. He comes to the conclusion that we must look to the past to determine not only the future, but the "Here and Now" as well. Driven by an infinity of "Why?"s that haunt his daily life, Crick becomes a school teacher; a history teacher. He strives to show the students how history, no matter how distant it seems to the individual, is somehow linked to everyone, and how no piece of history is more important or monumental than another. Through the narration of his own personal experiences as well as the lives of his ancestors, Crick reveals the beauty and power of history to his students. He reaches them in a way that textbooks never dreamed of. Perhaps it is redemption he seeks in teaching his pupils to draw wisdom and foresight from the past. While Crick opens the gates of history for his eager students, he comes to terms with his own past.
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By A Customer on April 1 2002
Format: Paperback
And so it seems like everyone extracts something different from this book. I wasn't interested in the history as much as on the actual content, on the part that dealt with people. The content was confusing. But I liked his play on words. I liked it how he wasn't grammatically correct. I liked it how sentences wouldn't have to make sense the way they were written, but they still made sense to me.
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Format: Paperback
Now, I'm not going to try and pretend I can explain the different facets of just why I hold this novel so dear to my heart, because I can't. It's enough to say that it's a terribly heartfelt novel, about the past, present and the ways that humans rely on each to live and love, even when the ones they love seem lost to them. It sense of character and location seems persuasive, and the sense of loss that the narrator holds for his past and his wife is simply tragic. Wonderful.
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By Norman Dale on March 17 2002
Format: Paperback
I read Waterland almost two decades ago when it first appeared and was nominated for the Booker Prize. Since then I maintained a memory of it as a masterpiece and commended to it scores of friends. I came back and re-read it after recently discovering (and reviewing elsewhere on Amazon.com) W.G. Sebald's "Rings of Saturn" I was inspired by the coincidence that both novels are set in the same water-logged landscape of East Anglia (England) and both are centrally concerned with the way that history (and divergent versions of history) as well as the geography affect the interwoven course of lives, famous and not.
My return to Waterland left me less sanguine and commendatory. The voice throughout is that of soon-to-be- forcibly retired history teacher, Tom Crick and the style almost all the way through is that of an excessively didactic lecturer, telling the mainly woeful tales of his family and forbears as these stretched over several centuries. All the while the teacher is badgering his class with ironic rhetorical questions which, after a few hundred pages begin to annoy.
Don't get me wrong: this novel is very entertaining and presaged the more refined unfolding of family tragedy and entanglements that Swift mastered in "Last Orders" (which did win the Booker). Perhaps like Tom Crick who always says too much, the younger Swift wanted to get it all out in one fell swoop in Waterland. And he sure did that: there is early adolescent sex, murder, incest, suicides, spousal battery, kidnap, arson, a great deal of madness and mental defect, and a vividly described botched abortion. Interspersed are the mysteries associated with land drainage, eel biology, brewing ale and the French Revolution all revealing Swift's fascination with the ultimately unknowable nature of nature, human and otherwise.
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Format: Paperback
A reader must have patience and perseverance while reading Graham Swift's remarkable novel "Waterland." Like some of the better authors in British literature, Mr. Swift weaves theme upon theme with great virtuosity and skill; the reader must follow the turns and detours of the expansive plot while dealing with an unusual handling of time. The extraordinary tale is narrated by Tom Crick, a rambling storyteller and ex-history teacher from England's Fen Country. He is the son of a canal lock keeper, and the story he tells - although frequently convoluted, digressive, and rambling - is one of the most fascinating stories I have ever read. Right before he is forced to retire in the 1980's, Tom abandons the history curriculum of the school at which he teaches and relates instead a three-hundred page saga of the Fen Country involving murder, incest, madness, ghosts, revenge, and two centuries of pain and tragedy. He incorporates this remarkable history with references to the French Revolution and to his own painful story of growing up during World War II, becoming involved with a bizarre murder and with a witless half-brother who was conceived in order to become "Saviour of the World." It is a disquieting and painful novel, a work of Gothic proportions in which the reader must maintain the utmost concentration. But the rewards are great. I simply could not get this novel out of my mind while I was reading it. I quickly became enthralled with Tom Crick's touching story, with his striking historical account of his ancestors, and with his marvelously graphic description of the Fen Country and its austerity and often tragic hardships. In fact the Fen Country is a major character in the novel for it acts upon the characters in extraordinary ways.Read more ›
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