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Blackwater Hardcover – 1 Feb 1996

3.8 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 434 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday (Feb. 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385481780
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385481786
  • Product Dimensions: 4.4 x 16.5 x 25.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,216,045 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"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.

Book Description

‘A magnificent and truly terrifying thriller’ Image --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Two bodies are stumbled upon near a river by a young woman looking for the site of a hippy commune. Quite a good set up. The area is populated by plenty of suspects: brutish farmboys, pagan followers, drop-outs, morose villagers etc. But after the set-up everything goes downhill.
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.
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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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