Blackwater Hardcover – 1 Feb 1996
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"Thrilling...a superbly written and atmospherically engaging crime novel." --Sven Birkerts, "The Washington Post Book World"
"Wonderful..powerfully enigmatic. . .extremely intelligent. . .Blackwater workds so brilliantly both as a mystery and an evocation of an unfamiliar world." --Richard Bernstein, " The New York Times"
"Sriking ...Graham Greene meets Dean Koontz." --"Entertainment Weekly"
"Never uninvolving. . .keeps us guessing. . .Ekman tosses out conventional plot mechantics and stuns us with unexpected tragedy and twist after twist." --Peter Handel, "San Francisco Sunday Examiner and Chronicle"
"Mesmerizing. . .like Smilla's "Sense of Snow," it is beautifully written, absorbing, and accessible. It makes you hold your breath." --"Newsday"
Thrilling...a superbly written and atmospherically engaging crime novel. "Sven Birkerts, The Washington Post Book World"
Wonderful..powerfully enigmatic. . .extremely intelligent. . .Blackwater workds so brilliantly both as a mystery and an evocation of an unfamiliar world. "Richard Bernstein, The New York Times"
Sriking ...Graham Greene meets Dean Koontz. "Entertainment Weekly"
Never uninvolving. . .keeps us guessing. . .Ekman tosses out conventional plot mechantics and stuns us with unexpected tragedy and twist after twist. "Peter Handel, San Francisco Sunday Examiner and Chronicle"
Mesmerizing. . .like Smilla's "Sense of Snow," it is beautifully written, absorbing, and accessible. It makes you hold your breath. "Newsday"" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
‘A magnificent and truly terrifying thriller’ Image --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
'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.Read more ›
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.
As other reviewers have said this is not a genre crime novel at all. Nothing wrong with that - except that it is marketed as such. I found the book to be one of the most sprawling, meandering and tedious-detail-filled books I can remember and I couldn't get through to the end. Nothing is left out. If we go into room, the floor is described, the rugs, the furniture, the walls, the pictures on the walls - although these have no bearing on the progress of the novel. Same with self-obsessed people's interminable thoughts and recollections of their grim past lives. The author doesn't give the reader credit for any imagination.
The plot movement soon drains away and we are left in a swamp of angst-ridden characters who vie with each other to be the most unpleasant and damaged. None of them is sympathetic in the least. Even the sex in the book is bleak and joyless. The characters are referred to as "he" or "she" - often without being named, so you have to guess for a good time who is being described. No pace. No drive forward. No economy at all. Repetitive. Stodgy. Infuriating.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A beautifully written very challenging book. A seminal example of the Scandinavian genre.Published 10 months ago by Robert E.
Really enjoyed this book, although there were a few places where it left my brain behind a little. Very evocative with a thought-provoking ending.Published 20 months ago by Ursula
Not much to add to previous positive reviews. The crime and ultimate revelations almost seem incidental. A rewarding read and beautifully written and crafted in places.Published on 10 Aug. 2014 by Chris W
Way back before the present-day influx of Scandinavian thrillers and procedurals, in 1978, I came across this novel by Kerstin Ekman. Read morePublished on 3 April 2014 by Eileen Shaw
I just didn't find the characters very interesting and pretty much saw through the plot relatively early on. I know the descriptive style can work but not for me in this book. Read morePublished on 30 Nov. 2013 by Carl Poulton
Restrained writing style and interesting believable story. I read this many years ago, and am so happy to have read it againj.Published on 9 Aug. 2013 by Amazon Customer
The book was a little more "used" than I thought it would be, but it is OK. Haven't read it yet.Published on 17 Mar. 2013 by jn
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. Read morePublished on 7 Nov. 2012 by Crimebuff
I rate this book highly for reasons which have already been given by many other reviewers. I write this to address the very negative views expressed by some reviewers. Read morePublished on 22 April 2011 by JHu