A Mysterious Family Affliction and Epic Storytelling in The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese

The Covenant of Water

My Review

This riveting, emotionally charged book is huge, over 700 pages, yet I wish it were even longer! Once I was immersed in the incredible writing and felt I was living on the coast of India, I didn’t want to leave!

The Covenant of Water is an epic historical fiction novel based in India from 1900-1977. The Parambil family lives with a mysterious affliction – in each generation there has been a victim of a drowning accident. This complex relationship they have with water runs through the entirety of the story which starts off with a twelve year old girl marrying a forty year old man.

This young girl grows up to become Big Ammachi, the matriarch of the family. She comes to love her husband from the arranged marriage and his son, and after struggles to become pregnant she ultimately has several of her own children as well. One of her sons, Philopose wants to become a doctor but is deterred due to hearing loss, a discovery that provides a clue to the medical mystery the Parambil family endures. Obstacles and tragedies, including medical ailments pepper the lives of three generations as they make and break connections with each other through their history.

With interwoven family relationships, the beautiful writing of Verghese immerses us in the Malabar coast, introduces us to the traditions and struggles of multi-dimmensional characters, brings us along on the quest for answers and is a nod to science and medicine. An Oprah book pick this season, The Covenant of Water is a must read!

Abraham Verghese

About the Author

Abraham Verghese, MD, MACP, is Professor and Linda R. Meier and Joan F. Lane Provostial Professor, and Vice Chair for the Theory and Practice of Medicine at the School of Medicine at Stanford University. He is also a best-selling author and a physician with a reputation for his focus on healing in an era where technology often overwhelms the human side of medicine. He received the Heinz Award in 2014 and was awarded the National Humanities Medal, presented by President Barack Obama, in 2015.

To learn more about Abraham Verghese, see his full bio HERE.

And for more epic novels, Book Nation Suggests….

Book Nation by Jen

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