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Haweswater
 
 

Haweswater [Kindle Edition]

Sarah Hall
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

Print List Price: 8.99
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Product Description

Review

'First impression: here is a new writer of show-stopping genius; everyone should buy this novel... I stand by my original impressions. Go forth and buy; prepare to weep'. Helen Falconer, Guardian 'A strikingly original first novel, full not just of fury but also of the most sensitive compassion for the people and the place, and an understanding of both which is rare.' Margaret Forster 'One of the most impressive debuts I have read.' The Times

Product Description

It is 1936 in a remote dale in the old, northern county of Westmorland. For centuries the rural community has remained the same and the Lightburn family have been immersed in the harsh hill-farming tradition - unchanged by the advent of modernity. Then a man from the city of Manchester arrives, spokesman for a vast industrial project which will devastate both the landscape and the local community. Mardale will be flooded to create a new reservoir, supplying water to the Midland cities. In the coming year this corner of Lakeland will be evacuated and transformed.

Jack Liggett, the Waterworks' representative, further compounds the problems faced by the village as he begins a troubled affair with Janet Lightburn. A woman of force and strength of mind, her natural orthodoxy deeply influences him. Finally, in tragic circumstances, a remarkable, desperate act on Janet's part attempts to restore the valley to its former state.

Told in luminous prose with an intuitive sense for period and place, Haweswater remembers a rural England that has been disappearing for decades. It is a novel about love, obsession and the destruction of a community, told with grace and artistry by a young storyteller of great imaginative and emotional power.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 444 KB
  • Print Length: 290 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0571209300
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber Fiction; New Ed edition (25 Nov 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S. r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004EPXX8S
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #81,767 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A majestic read 19 Jun 2002
Format:Paperback
This is as powerful first novel as you could hope for. Set in the 1930s, the novel charts the disintegration of a farming community in the Lake District, northern England. Close-knit, and largely unchanged for generations, the village is ripped apart by the incursion of the Manchester Water Board who appropriate the valley in order that they can flood it to create a reservoir. The villagers are forced to move out, abandoning their homes and their way of life. Haweswater vividly brings to life the a clash of an old, agricultural way of life with the inevitable encroachment of modernity and industrialistaion.
If the backdrop is the scenery of lakes, valleys and mountains, at the foreground is the Lightburn family, mother and father, son and daughter. Janet Lightburn, a headstrong young woman who reaches out beyond the confines of the valley, falls in love with the natural enemy, the architect of the reservoir project. Despite themselves the love grows, secretly at first, and with tragic consequences. All the while, as we become more involved with the characters and the drowning of the past, the valley is being flooded, inch by creeping inch, creating an uncanny and unsettling sense of impending doom.
The writing is majestic and bewitching, laced with poetry while never spilling into melodrama or pretention. You'll love it!
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Near perfect 26 July 2002
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Sarah Hall's Haweswater has about it, like the Cumbrian landscape it so hauntingly portrays, a foreboding terrible beauty. In its depiction of farming life and the rhythms of speech it simultaneously captures a place and time and yet is timeless.
That this is a first novel is amazing enough - that it is written by an author so young makes it doubly so. I had begun to fear that authors like Zadie Smith and Hari Kunzru were the best my generation has to offer. Thank God for Sarah Hall who seems to truly understand what literature is about and what it can do - this novel is in the tradition of greats like Thomas Hardy ( the impact of modernity on an unchanging world reminds one of "The Woodlanders") and D.H. Lawrence.
The story builds towards an inevitably unhappy ending but within that there is the kernel of hope, and I particularly liked the way one event in the novel gives rise to a local myth.
The writing is poetic, and on occassion the metaphors can be a little off the mark, but these flaws are few and do not detract from a marvelous book that deserves to be widely read. I shall look forward to the author's next work.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant First Novel 29 July 2002
Format:Paperback
This debut novel comes straight from the heart of the author, and almost straight from the lakeland itself. I know because I heard Ms. Hall read her work in June, and on the second point I know because I am from the Lake District myself. There is no pretension present in this work, just honesty, integrity and soul.
I will not recap the plot, as the first review posted here does that nicely. I will say though that the descriptive quality that this work has took my breath away because I am deeply familiar with these hills, and have walked/climbed Helvellyn and many others; and this writing made me feel at home though I read most of the book in India. I would in fact defy anyone to compose a more atmospheric rendering of the region and the people, especially the hard edge and 'just get on with it' attitude of Cumbrians even today. The language of this book captures the entire thing, including the dialect, which is done in a way understandable to all. The detail is equally incredible, and I almost could not believe that this was written by a modern-day Cumbrian, and not someone who was there at the time.
At the end, I knew that the people portrayed were not real, but I was left with the very distinct impression that they must have been awfully like the people who actually went through losing their village in this way. This really DID happen, and it just makes this whole chapter of history very real and immediate to me, especially after hearing my 96 year old grandmother say 'that's manchester's water, you know' every time we pass the lake, and never really having thought much about it before.
Ms. Hall has a bright future ahead of her, if she continues to use the same awsome creativity and the same skill at painting such a real picture as she has done in this work.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Haunted 7 Aug 2002
Format:Paperback
I picked up Haweswater on a whim while traveling, and read it twice in quick succession. While Ms. Hall's intuitive grasp of landscape, her unwavering understanding of plot, and her eerily poetic language are all to be loudly commended, it is her characters that have haunted my mind ever since. Janet Lightburn prowls through the novel like a creature born onto the wrong planet, perhaps into the wrong skin, and the vague terror her other-worldliness instills in both her parents (her father detects a "low growl" emanating from her chest when she's a child; her mother senses that she's "spilling at the edges" as a grown woman) makes her all the more thrilling and inscrutable a heroine. Samuel Lightburn, perhaps the emotional center of the novel, is unforgettable in his silent, steadfast complicity with fate, and Ella Lightburn is downright electrifying from the beginning of the novel, when she walks away from her own newborn and, still bloody from labor, marches alone to church. Meanwhile, Ms. Hall sets up Isaac Lightburn's demise with such finesse and subtlety along the way that when it finally occurs, one feels that one has been privy to a long, half-understood secret that at last makes terrible sense. I will wait very impatiently indeed for Ms. Hall's second novel.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars beautifully written with a great sense of place
I found this book on a shelf in a holiday cottages near Haweswater in the Lake District and it had me hooked from the first page. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Denise A Ashton
4.0 out of 5 stars Haweswater
A LOVELY STORY SO REAL TO LIFE, AND SO EASY TO READ ON ANNUAL HOLIDAY. WITH VARIOUS LENGHTS BREAKS ETC.
Published 7 months ago by dot
5.0 out of 5 stars A sensational read
Near the beginning of the novel, a bullock has Janet Lightburn's father trapped against a rowan, butting him with its horns. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Stewart Robertson
5.0 out of 5 stars Haweswater - A excellent read
Although set within a fictional tale it tells the dramatic story of the building of the Haweswater Dam, and consequently the destruction of a tight knit Lakeland... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Bill Anderson
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read
A good read although I felt it was Melvyn Bragg meets Catherine Cookson so that I wouldn't recommend it to my more erudite friends.
Published 15 months ago by Anne Houghton
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
I had expected to enjoy the lakeland landscape setting and treatment of a real event.
But if I had looked at reviews and seen the frequent likemesses to Wuthering Heights - a... Read more
Published on 19 April 2012 by Elisabeth T.
1.0 out of 5 stars Can't engage with these characters
I abandoned this one. The main character appears to be a young woman living in the Lake District in the 1930s. Read more
Published on 18 Feb 2012 by E. Potter
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
After a spate of reading books centered on India, before and during my holidays there, I decided to take a break and try this novel after hearing great things of Sarah Hall on a... Read more
Published on 15 Feb 2012 by David Smith
4.0 out of 5 stars A first novel
SAFE READING - NO SPOILERS

Loving the Lake District, Wast Water in particular, I was attracted to this first novel after a friend's recommendation. Read more
Published on 27 Aug 2011 by RR Waller
5.0 out of 5 stars earth, fire, and water
Haweswater is a staggeringly good book. For its heady scope and beauty, for its dirt under the finger nail characters, for its towering landscape, for Sarah Hall’s prowess... Read more
Published on 4 Feb 2004 by mfl
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