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The Water Theatre by Lindsay Clarke
  

Sarah Broadhurst's view...

This is deeply impressive, with rich imagery, a complex and absorbing plot and a style reminiscent of John Fowles' The Magus. It is a tale of a privileged, liberal family with a driven head, a wife who tries to smooth relationships and two headstrong siblings. Into the mix comes our innocent narrator who holds the whole thing together while seemingly appearing to damage the entire family. Through African politics, Italian indulgence, strange mysteries, art and deception, the big canvas unfolds in an imaginative, highly satisfying read. He won the Whitbread (now Costa) Prize for Fiction with The Chymical Wedding.

Judging Panel Fiction Uncovered 2011: ‘Clarke’s family saga is a book with enormous sweep: with a story that takes us from working class Yorkshire to cultured Umbria, and to a newly independent West African state.

If you like Lindsay Clarke you might also like to read books by John Fowles, L. R. Fredericks and Jennifer Egan.

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Synopsis

The Water Theatre by Lindsay Clarke

As war-reporter Martin Crowther arrives in Umbria, still raw from a recent assignment in Africa, and from a failing love affair back home, a storm hits and the sky opens. Things are powerfully on the move inside him too as he comes to the small village of Fontanalba, on a mission to track down two friends from a lifetime ago.

Adam and Marina are the estranged children of his mentor, Hal Brigshaw, who is nearing the end of a turbulent life and wants to summon them home. But there are good reasons for their self-imposed exile, and not all of them are understood, and not all are in the past. An air of secrecy also surrounds preparations for an event at Fontanalba in which Adam and Marina have an extraordinary role to play. As Martin waits, trapped between duty and desire, he is both intrigued and dismayed by his dealings with a close-knit community, who seem bent on protecting their own - and on shaking the ground of Martin's life.

Reviews

'Lindsay Clarke weaves a stunning, compelling tale that tackles the biggest theme of all: the existence of evil, and how ordinary, fallible mortals come to terms with Man's astonishing capacity for brutality and venality... The Water Theatre will linger long beyond the turning of the last page. It is difficult to remember a recent book that is at once so beautiful and yet so thought provoking.' - The Times

'Clarke has a gift for believably melding the visible world and human life with larger spiritual and metaphysical forces.' - The Financial Times

'It is a rare pleasure and surprise to read a new book whose prose is so rich and emotionally resonant... Lindsay Clarke has an enviable command of character, time, and place. He is almost Lawrentian in his ability to depict both the power and beauty of landscape, and tender or tragically fraught emotional relationships... This is a significant and ambitious work by a master of his craft.' - The Independent

About the Author

Lindsay Clarke

Lindsay Clarke is the author of seven novels, including The Chymical Wedding, which won the Whitbread Award for Fiction in 1989. His novel, Sunday Whiteman, based on the time he spent as a teacher in the rainforest of West Africa, was shortlisted for the David Higham First Novel Award. He is also the author of five radio plays, which were broadcast on BBC Radio 4, and a pamphlet of verse, Stoker. His works have been translated into many languages.

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Book Info

Publication date

18th April 2011

Author

Lindsay Clarke

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Publisher

Alma Books Ltd

Format

Paperback
450 pages

Categories

Literary Fiction
Family Drama
Reading Groups
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

ISBN

9781846881305

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