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Memory of Water Hardcover – 8 May 2014


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager (8 May 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007529910
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007529919
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 2.8 x 22.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 110,387 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

‘(A) poetic and melancholy debut’
Guardian

‘Itäranta’s lyrical style makes this dystopian tale a beautiful exploration of environmental ethics and the power of ritual’ Washington Post

‘Gorgeous and delicate’ Library Journal, starred review.

‘Itäranta’s steady piling on of pressure on her protagonist grips, even as her prose soothes’ SFX

'Where Itäranta shines is in her understated but compelling characters' Red Star Review, Publishers Weekly

‘Gorgeous and delicate’ Library Journal, Starred Review.

‘Brilliant, lyrical prose’ Tor.com

Book Description

Some secrets demand betrayal.


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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Book Critic TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 18 May 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Another dystopian Scandinavian novel about the fall-out from a man-made environmental disaster. There seem to be a lot about at the moment. In Memory of Water, water has become the most valuable commodity, its supply controlled by an all-powerful military elite.
Well worth reading for the language: it is very beautifully written, but there's nothing to the story, which seems to run in circles, with climaxes and twists that are promised but never delivered. Too many of the characters are thin and intangible: Sanja and the Military men are well-drawn, but Noria, our protagonist and voice, is utterly colourless, and consequently hard to love or sympathise with. I've given it 3 stars, though it's more like three and a half. It's a smooth, easy read, thought I can't say I enjoyed it. It's richly poetic; miserable; pessimistic; depressing - a little like The Smiths, without the perspicacity or dark humour.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 14 May 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Possible Spoilers

Set in a stark and maybe not too distant dystopian future, where water is scarce, teenage Noria Kaitio has been appointed the role of tea master. With this new title and placement comes responsibilities - thus our main protagonist finds she is growing up very quickly. Noria soon becomes the keeper of two very significant confidences; the illegal water spring entrusted to her, and her friend, by her father plus the knowledge of historic evidence of where the water went. Her new, secretive role of preserving the fresh water spring - for this has been the duty of her family for generations. Noria increasingly sees herself at odds with the occupying regime; she soon starts to resist the government. Her rebellious struggle leads her down a dangerous path. Noria is a driven person and is thus striving to do something for the greater good.

The expressive descriptions contrast nicely with the harsh world background setup Noria is living in. This is an attractively written narrative. It is coming of age novel with themes about family, friendship, custom/tradition and political subjugation. For me Emmi Itäranta's graceful and moving debut novel is worthy of good recognition. One example of what drew me into the book was the vivid descriptions of the plastic waste dump and its role in Noria's society, which showed originality and ingenuity by the author. I think that this book would appeal to adults, teenagers and to sci-fi/fantasy fans. That said all readers of good fiction will enjoy this rather original work.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By n7misc TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 15 Sep 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is an intriguing first novel from an author with obvious skill with language - I found the writing quite beautiful, quite a lot of the time. She seems to be being compared to Atwood but reminded me more of Murakami, actually. There is an ethereal quality to some of the narrative and characterisation and I rather liked Itaranta's descriptive abilities - she has created a vision of a future world that is quite easy to conjure as a reader. The dystopian future created is a little bit unsubtle for my taste, a little one sided, a little defeatist, and the outcome is not cheery - but that is all fine honestly - books don't have to be cheery and this is an interesting topic and one that stands thinking about - I suspect one that younger readers will be more comfortable with.
I picked this up because I thought it might be of interest for my 11 year old niece - an ardent reader who needs a stretch and also perhaps to move away from the diary type novels and very personal issue type authors aiming at young readers. I think this might be a little too depressing for her to be honest but I might send it her way in a year or so. It's certainly the sort of good quality writing I would like her to be exposed to and I think will improve her prose.
All in all - I liked this book - it's different and that is quite hard to come by these days.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By R. Palmer on 12 Jun 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Memory of Water is set in a future where climate change has rendered potable water a scarce resource. We are given to understand a series of wars over diminishing supplies of oil and the fresh water have remade the political landscape, as the geography of the world has been changed.

Noria Kaitio is the daughter of a tea master and, as he ages, is appointed to the role. She learns of a secret fresh-water spring (illegal when drinkable water is so scarce) and also there is a huge secret, discovered in the plastic graveyard (they find some old CDs, acting as a record of an expedition). This is shocking stuff to them as, despite the huge amount of information we record now, very little of what actually happened seems to have survived, to the point it looks deliberate.

The plotting is well handled and the world-building done with a light touch, which certainly puts this in the more literary end of SF.

The only thing which troubles me a little is the (apparent, I'm not sure?) dominance of China. I always pull up a bit at this as it makes assumptions about the kind of world the fall of large powers would create. The way the west has dominated for the last few hundred years is fairly unique (albeit aided by new technology), but my main worry is why assume that other countries would make the same kind of mistakes as Europeans? In short, I tend to worry that people warning of the dominance of China might be indulging in a slightly odd and old-fashioned racism. I don't think this is detrimental to the novel, however, as this aspect is implied more than anything else, so it is light-touch.

That gripe aside, it is an excellent novel and well worth your time.
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