5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Winter Under Water: or, Conversation with the Elements (Paperback)
This is one of those books that makes you see the world differently - and not only because of the beautiful language, with its startling and vivid descriptions. The characters also offer unique perspectives. Marta gives us a sense of what it is like to be a woman caught between upholding family loyalties and the quest for personal happiness. Her own courage and ambition and passion come out through the biographies she narrates of gifted but forgotten women. I really liked the way you very easily learned about some different historical figures during the course of the story.
Joseph's impressions of Poland are surprising and often funny. You really feel like you're in the country, going through the streets and pubs with him, and also feeling what it is to be an outsider in a place where you don't speak the language. What I loved most of all was the intensity of the book and the suspense about what will happen to the two lovers. I found myself reading faster to see how it would end. This is a brilliant book. I couldn't believe it was a first novel - it felt so wise and witty and polished. You have to read it to know what I mean.