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Blackwater Paperback – Feb 1997


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Product details

  • Paperback: 434 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martins Press-3pl; Slight Moisture Damage edition (Feb 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312152477
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312152475
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 14 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,444,694 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"[A] rich adventure, the kind of long, lush, thoughtful page-turner many of us crave but rarely get our hands on" -- Beverly Lowry New York Times "The best novel I've read this year" -- Rose Tremain Independent "A powerful, atavistic book...full of threat and mystery. Wonderful strong stuff" Lisa Cody --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

‘A magnificent and truly terrifying thriller’ Image --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By jfp2006 on 2 Aug 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an extraordinarily complex and ingeniously plotted novel, and to categorise it as a thriller or a crime novel is only to touch the surface of the different aspects of its complexity.
'Blackwater' begins from the point of view a woman called Annie who, awoken by her daughter Mia, who is in her early twenties, returning home in the middle of the night, convinces herself the man with her daughter is the same man she saw eighteen years previously and whom she has always believed to be guilty of the brutal stabbing of two tourists sleeping in a tent. Annie herself had been the first person to discover the bodies of the tourists, on Midsummer Evening, when arriving with Mia, then a little girl, to pitch in her lot with a commune in the desolate north of Scandinavia.
The novel then slowly recreates the disturbing circumstances of the murder through a long and very complex combination of flashbacks seen from different points of view, before returning, at the opening of Part II, to its starting-point and the subsquent revival of interest in a double murder whose motives had never originally been explained (and a murderer who had never been caught).
The plot itself is watertight, but the postmodernist narrative techniques deployed are complex, and sometimes deliberately misleading: information is crucially withheld in order to develop and slowly increase an atmosphere of suspense which gradually becomes overwhelming.
Yet there is much more than suspense and unsolved mystery here. The characters are complex, and all of them have something to hide, or at the very least shady areas of their pasts which they are unwilling to contemplate.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Alan Barker on 13 Aug 2000
Format: Paperback
I am amazed that nobody else has yet written a review of this book. It is one of the most terrifying and literate thrillers I have read.
The story is set in the far northern forests of Sweden and centres on a brutal murder, in the late 1960s, of two foreign tourists. Around this crime, Ekman weaves a tale involving the brutalities of rural life, the commune-based radicalism that was so fashionable in Scandinavia at that time, environmental destruction and - most interestingly - a disturbing racism that seems to lurk within Swedish society.
Kerstin Ekman has clearly spent a long time honing the skills of plotting,but the book delivers much more: powerful ideas about education, memory and politics, and a profound, passionate evocation of nature.
Kerstin Ekman is one of the few contemporary Swedish writers to have become known internationally. I came to Blackwater having read The Forest of Hours, a magnificent historical novel that others have reviewed for Amazon. And I came to that book by chance. She is, for me, a wonderful discovery. We need more of her books in English.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Shelfseeker on 4 Jan 2011
Format: Paperback
I am not going to add much to the previous positive reviews here, but it grieves me that this extraordinary novel has been so misunderstood on this and other review sites, so I'm marking my five stars against this title. Blackwater is absolutely NOT a conventional plot-driven action thriller or police procedural. This novel is a profound study of individual psychology and and the impact of insular rural life in a harsh but very beautiful sub-arctic region. It reflects on the intellectual, political and social preoccupations of Sweden in the early 1970s through the characters affected by the murders of two campers. But if that sounds dry, I must say Ekman achieves this with a compelling, beautifully written narrative, and with enormous humanity. It is the final act of humanity in the book that redeems all the quiet tragedy that has gone before, and the redemption is offered by the only two characters who have the real right to give it. A profound work that moved me and has kept me thinking.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By "jh003p0116" on 5 Jun 2004
Format: Paperback
I would agree that "Blackwater" is very slow, painfully slow in the first half and certainly not everyones cup of tea. I admit that I very nearly gave up on it, but I am so glad I did not ! The second half moves along a lot faster and so much more is explained. The characters and plot develop superbly.
This is not the easiest book to read, and I found the Swedish charcters and place names very hard to get to grips with. The plot is complex and interwoven, jumping from character to character and across time.
The novel is also very dark and shows a different side to Swedish life, reminiscent more of an American backwoods lifestyle. The main characters are also fascinating especially one who you think could be a double murderer but ends up in a way as a sort of hero !
Ekman brings different threads and themes together superbly, from the despair of the village doctor, the awkward shyness and moodiness of a teenage boy, the darker thoughts of a teacher turned hippy and the even darker mind of a backwoods loner.
All in all this is a fantastic book. So stick with it, it is well worth it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Crimebuff on 7 Nov 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This isn't a book, it's a landscape. This book will stay with you forever. The tone, colours, gorgeous setting, heavy atmosphere... all unforgettable. The characterisation is equally sharp. Very few of the current crop of Scandi thrillers come anywhere near Ekman's classic. Ys, it is extremely dark, but the nature is part of the characters' inner landscape. That's what's so great. This is total writing. Masterpiece.
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