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Black Water by Louise Doughty

Black Water

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Fluctuating between the riots and massacre in Indonesia in 1965 and the second coup in 1997 with the unrest of 1998, this is a powerful tale of espionage and love. Our hero, a courier, appears to be in disgrace, hiding out in an isolated hut in the mountains in Bali. He meets a teacher, Rita, and they embark upon an affair. Each is damaged, each has much to hide which slowly is revealed, particularly John Harper’s past. A dreadful deed committed to save himself naturally still haunts him. I found this riveting. Perhaps a little slow to build but once we delve into his background and the fascinating history that led to the death of one million Indonesians, mostly members or suspectful members of the communist party, the PKI, then it is very hard to put down and stays with you long after you have finished. Louise Doughty is a fine writer indeed. ~ Sarah Broadhurst

If you like Louise Doughty you might also like to read books by Cath Staincliffe, Helen Dunmore and Chris Cleave.


Black Water by Louise Doughty

John Harper lies awake at night in an isolated hut on an Indonesian island, listening to the rain on the roof and believing his life may be in danger. But he is less afraid of what is going to happen than of something he's already done. In a local town, he meets Rita, a woman with her own troubled history. They begin an affair - but can he allow himself to get involved when he knows this might put her at risk? Moving between Europe during the cold war, California and the Civil Rights struggle, and Indonesia during the massacres of 1965 and the decades of military dictatorship that follow, Black Water is an epic novel that explores some of the darkest events of recent world history through the story of one troubled man. Black Water confirms Louise Doughty's position as one of our most important contemporary novelists. She writes with fierce intelligence and a fine-tuned sense of moral ambiguity that makes her fiction resonate in the reader's mind long after the final page has been turned.

About the Author

Louise Doughty

Louise Doughty is the author of seven novels, including the Top Ten bestseller Apple Tree Yard. Her sixth novel, Whatever You Love, was shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award and longlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction. She has also won awards for radio drama and short stories, along with publishing one work of non-fiction, A Novel in a Year, based on her popular newspaper column. She is a critic and cultural commentator for UK and international newspapers and broadcasts regularly for the BBC. She is a former judge of the Man Booker Prize, was Chair of Judges for last year’s Desmond Elliott Award, and a judge for the 2015 Costa Book of the Year Award. She lives in London.

Author photo © Charlie Hopkinson

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Book Info

Publication date

30th March 2017


Louise Doughty

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Faber & Faber


384 pages


Literary Fiction
Historical Fiction
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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