The Covenant of Water
Let me begin by saying this is one of the best books I have ever read. Period. For those of you who read Cutting For Stone, Verghese's 2009 debut about two brothers in Ethiopia, you will no doubt be thrilled to hear about his new book,The Covenant of Water, coming out on May 2nd. The Covenant of Water is a commitment, coming in at a whopping 736 pages, and you will want to do nothing else until you finish, so plan accordingly and clear your calendar! The Covenant of Water is the story of three generations of a family in the tight-knit Christian community on India's Malabar coast, where supposedly St. Thomas arrived in 52 CE, and the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama landed on that same coast 1,400 years later—"to bring Christ's love to the heathens." What sets the family apart is a condition where at least one person in each generation dies by drowning in a place where water is everywhere. You will be so connected to these characters that your heart will ache and celebrate with them. Inspired by his mother's childhood, Verghese said, "I wrote the bulk of the novel during Covid, and what we faced in the hospital made me think of the simplicity and faith of my grandmother's life," he says. "I remember her vividly. She had never been anywhere, but her life had meaning. I hope this book allows readers to see that even with much less we can have rich lives. Novels deliver instructions for living. They tell the great lie that tells the truth."