I’m hugely excited to be sharing this piece of bookpost with you today. The Covenant of Water is the forthcoming novel from Abraham Verghese and it sounds amazing . His last book, Cutting for Stone, was published in 2009 so this really has been, as it says on the cover, long awaited. I read Cutting for Stone for my book group back then and adored it. So I’m really looking forward to reading this new one when it comes out next month. It’s due to be published in hardback on 18th May 2023 by Grove Press and is available for pre-order now. Huge thanks to Emily Burns at Brandhive for sending me a copy for review.
About the book
Spanning the years 1900 to 1977, The Covenant of Water follows a family in southern India that suffers a peculiar affliction: in every generation, at least one person dies by drowning – and in Kerala, water is everywhere.
At the turn of the century a twelve-year-old girl, grieving the death of her father, is sent by boat to her wedding, where she will meet her forty-year-old husband for the first time. From this poignant beginning, the young girl and future matriarch – known as Big Ammachi – will witness unthinkable changes at home and at large over the span of her extraordinary life, full of the joys and trials of love and the struggles of hardship.
A shimmering evocation of a lost India and of the passage of time itself, The Covenant of Water is a hymn to progress in medicine and to human understanding, and a humbling testament to the hardships undergone by past generations for the sake of those alive today. Imbued with humour, deep emotion and the essence of life, it is one of the most masterful literary novels published in recent years.
About the Author
ABRAHAM VERGHESE is the Linda R. Meier and Joan F. Lane Provostial Professor and Vice Chair of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine. He sees patients, teaches students, and writes.
From 1990 to 1991, Abraham Verghese attended the Iowa Writers’ Workshop at The University of Iowa, where he obtained a Master of Fine Arts degree.
His first book, MY OWN COUNTRY, about AIDS in rural Tennessee, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for 1994 and was made into a movie directed by Mira Nair and starring Naveen Andrews, Marisa Tomei, Glenne Headley and others.
His second book, THE TENNIS PARTNER, was a New York Times notable book and a national bestseller.
His third book, CUTTING FOR STONE was an epic love story, medical story and family saga. It appeared in hardback in 2009, and is in its 9th printing and is being translated into 16 languages. It is a Vintage paperback and was on the New York Times bestseller list for over 110 weeks at this writing.
His latest novel, THE COVENANT OF WATER, is forthcoming from Grove Press (May 2023).
Verghese has honorary degrees from five universities and has published extensively in the medical literature, and his writing has appeared in The New Yorker, Sports Illustrated, The Atlantic Monthly, Esquire, Granta, The New York Times Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, and elsewhere. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. He was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Obama in 2016.
His writing, both non-fiction and fiction, has to do with his view of medicine as a passionate and romantic pursuit; he sees the bedside skill and ritual of examining the patient as critical, cost saving, time-honored and necessary, though it is threatened in this technological age. He coined the term the ‘iPatient’ to describe the phenomenon of the virtual patient in the computer becoming the object of attention to the detriment of the real patient in the bed. His is an important voice for humanism in medicine and for anticipating the unwanted consequences of new technologies before they are introduced.