Water & Glass by Abi Curtis

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Water & Glass by Abi Curtis

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Buy Water & Glass by Abi Curtis at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: General Fiction
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: James Donald
Reviewed by James Donald
Summary: An original, well-written and intriguing book. This isn't a page-turner in a conventional sense but its quirky nature draws you in and makes you want more.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 256 Date: November 2017
Publisher: Cloud Lodge Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0995465756

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Something has happened, something very nasty and on a submarine, a pregnant elephant is one of only a handful of animals living below the waves. We follow Nerissa Crane, a vet, as she remembers recent events, looks after the animals and falls into a world of intrigue.

It is difficult to properly review this book without giving too much away. There will be mild spoilers throughout this right from the start but I will try to avoid the main ones.

Let us just get this out of the way – We are in the near future, there has been a major global catastrophe and the world is flooding. We are on board the Baleen, a futuristic submarine that is more than it appears to be. The book moves between flashbacks, Nerissa's current story and following a large rodent as it scrabbles around the ship. The latter of these is far from the oddest thing in the book. The humour of following the Woolly Rat belies the fact that it actually serves as a larger metaphor for humanity itself.

This work is wonderfully crafted. The tale gradually reveals a bigger picture as we go through, like a scratch card or jigsaw puzzle. Some parts of the story are predictable and you feel good for working them out. Other parts come out of left field and make you question a lot of what went before. The characters are engaging, real and interesting. The setting lends a sense of drama and claustrophobia that enhances the work as a whole and overall the book just pulls together really well.

The subtext of this book, the almost unspoken story, is beautiful in a fragile and damaged way. There is something genuinely compelling and attractive about the best post-apocalyptical fiction. This book has at its core a sincerity I've only really felt in Nevil Shute's On the Beach. In Shute's book, there has been a full-scale nuclear war, the Northern Hemisphere is dead and the last known American nuclear submarine is making its way to Australia to surrender to its Navy. The last bastion of society is trying to just carry on as normal whilst radioactive cloud rolls ever closer bringing death for all. The falseness, the emptiness and the self-delusion are hypnotic and this book has all these traits in spades.

There is a lot going on here and the author has a clear passion for the written word. The novel is short and feels simplistic at times but the simplicity is fake, superficial. Under the surface, this is a layered work where the subtext is as much a part of the tale as the narrative itself.

I was more than just pleasantly surprised by this book. I thoroughly enjoyed it and recommend it highly.

Further reading: The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. You might like to try Deaf at Spiral Park by Kieran Devaney, but we had our reservations.

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Buy Water & Glass by Abi Curtis at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Water & Glass by Abi Curtis at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Water & Glass by Abi Curtis at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Water & Glass by Abi Curtis at Amazon.com.


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