Monday, August 28, 2023

Monday Moments - The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese

 1900 to 1977, this is a huge novel covering three generations of a family. They suffer from "The Condition" - drowning.  In Kerala, India, water is everywhere.  We follow a twelve year old girl who meets and marries her forty year old husband. She, Big Ammachi, will witness unthinkable changes over the span of her extraordinary life, full of joy and triumph as well as hardship and loss, her faith and love, the only constants.  (cover blurb)

This book is a WOW.  Progress in medicine. Human understanding. Faith and a bit of mystical beliefs. Water, Water, Water.  Leprosy. Artistic depression.  So many characters to love and care for, to shed a tear upon death, to root for in life. 

The Covenant  of Water  by Abraham Verghese is a master class in writing, character and plot development, and a work of sheer humanity.  I now give you some of my marked sentences:

p. 396  The message in her (Baby Moll) gyrations is one that each observer makes for themself, but its themes are hard work, suffering, reward, and gratitude. 

p. 429  Joy and  sorrow, triumph and tragedy are the weeds and flowers of their Eden, and it will outlast the mortal blooms of this world. 

p. 430  But a stranger stares back at him, a soul already departed from this world but granted a backward glance at her former life.  (Elsie - oh my)

p. 517  Such precious, precious water, Lord, water from our well; this water that is our covenant with You, with this soil, with the life You granted us. 

p. 546  The ocean seems to be covered in glittering diamonds as the bus hugs the shore. 

p. 620  Every family has secrets, but not all secrets are meant to deceive. What defines a family is not blood, molay, but the secrets they share. 

Masterful writing. This book will stick with me for awhile.  It's long and looks daunting, but has a LOT of short chapters. You start reading and get hooked immediately.  Trust me!!


  1. thecontemplativecat here. This sound like an awesome book. I'll check Amazon. Thanks.

    1. It’s a big read, but worth the journey

  2. Hi Joanne - I'm sure I've read a few other promotions of this book - and its hit my brain waves ... I'm sure I'll read it sometime - but have a few others to read first, which I'm determined to enjoy. But thank you for this excellent review and your thoughts - cheers Hilary

    1. It’s a thick book- looks daunting. But it draws you in and you roll with the waves of writing and storytelling.