Waterland Paperback – Apr 20 1998
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"Perfectly controlled, superbly written -- Waterland is original, compelling and narration of the highest order." -- The Guardian (U.K.)
"Swift spins a tale of empire-building, land reclamation, brewers and sluice-minders, bewhiskered Victorian patriarchs, insane and visionary relicts.... I can't remember when I read a book of such strange, insidious, unsettling power with a more startling cast of characters." -- Books and Bookmen (U.K.)
"Teems with energy, fertility, violence, madness -- demonstrates the irrepressible, wide-ranging talent of this young British writer." -- Washington Post Book World
"A formidably intelligent book -- animated by an impressive, angry pity at what human creatures are capable of doing to one another in the name of love and need.... The most powerful novel I have read for some time." -- The New York Review of Books
"Waterland appropriates the Fens as Moby Dick did whaling or Wuthering Heights the moors -- a beautiful, serious, and intelligent novel, admirably ambitious and original." -- The Observer (U.K.)
"Rich, ingenious, inspired." -- The New York Times
From the Inside Flap
Set in the bleak Fen Country of East Anglia, and spanning some 240 years in the lives of its haunted narrator and his ancestors, Waterland is a book that takes in eels and incest, ale-making and madness, the heartless sweep of history and a family romance as tormented as any in Greek tragedy.
"Waterland, like the Hardy novels, carries with all else a profound knowledge of a people, a place, and their interweaving.... Swift tells his tale with wonderful contemporary verve and verbal felicity.... A fine and original work."--"Los Angeles Times --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
This is probably in my top ten of books. It is beautifully written and utilizes such a perfect metaphor. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Anthony
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. Read morePublished on March 31 2002
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. Read morePublished on March 26 2002
This novel is really a story of "what might have been?" Everything was fine for the young lads for awhile; they secretly went off many times and made love, they didn't... Read morePublished on Feb. 3 2001 by Dontlistentome
One exceptional book Waterland is a book about a history teacher being forced into early retirement, the teacher changes the subject of the French revolution into his own life and... Read morePublished on April 16 2000 by kim m benedict
"~Waterland was a novel that held me captive....I was unable to put it down without reading it in its entirety. Read morePublished on March 13 2000 by Kelly Anne Burns
Like most of the readers who posted their reviews here, I agree that Graham Swift's Waterland is indeed a masterpiece. Read morePublished on March 5 2000
Graham Swift is a great talent. Waterland is a wonderful novel. The narrator is Tom Crick who lived in the Fens in the 1930s and 1940s and is narrating the story from London in the... Read morePublished on Feb. 8 2000 by William M. Hessberg