Customer Reviews for

Waterland

Average Rating 5
( 13 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 13 Customer Reviews
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  • Posted March 23, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Extraordinary Read

    I simply loved this novel and read it in a weekend. A reviewer likened it so Thomas Hardy's novels and so it is. The characters are compelling and the story original weaving world history with local/familial history with past and present and with fairy tale and reality. A wonderfully constructed book -- one that readers will enjoy.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2006

    Exceptional

    I believe that every student of history should read this book. It has given me an urge to search my family history.I was also captivated by the way Swift presented the ' THE GREAT' events in history( the French Revoltion,World War I,World War II,etc), along side his family's personal history....

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2000

    Why 'Waterland' Flows, Not Sinks

    'Waterland' is a novel that presents a story that runs like the threads of a quilt. Many different threads of fact, myth, tragedy, politics, and merriment, are all combined and intertwined in such a unique way that the reader becomes completely wrapped up in the story, in spite of oneself. Although the story starts slowly, and is difficult to follow as Swift jumps from narrator to narrator, from past to present, I found myself many times, shaking my head, failing to make sense of anything I was reading. I could tell it was all leading somewhere, but once I thought I had sorted through it and figured it out, it threw me off once again with chapters such as the one that details the mating habits of eels. But once I finished the novel, I saw it was much more than a series of mix-matched chapters. I realized that this was a truly great novel, appreciated much more in its entirety than in bits and pieces. The story begins with Tom Crick, a history teacher, being fired. Not only being fired, but his entire department being ended. Once again, it is important to make clear that throughout the novel, the reader is at no point made to feel empathy of any kind for the character's presented. The characters seem to blend into the background of history, the story of the past. In this tale, setting seems to take precedence over characters. Consistency seems to be lacking in the original way in which the story is narrated. Swift seems to take the readers by the hand and guides them along the story, pointing things out like single events, leaving hints, dropping clues. Through clever use of dramatic irony, the reader is led through the 'phlegmatic' land of the Fens. The history of the narrator and his unlucky Atkinson ancestors are shown to follow the circle of history, which is one of the significant points of the story. History, as we define it, is nothing more than a bunch of stories, fairy-tales that once existed. The parallels that Swift makes between his characters and the events of history, the French revolution and the revolutionaries, are key to the story, revolving mostly around one of his students, Price. Price, one of the more secondary characters at first glance, actually becomes the key in triggering Tom's storytelling. Price poses the challenge, why? Why study history if it is all coming to an end? This is the question the novel tackles. The never ending question, why. I could not help but get caught up in Tom's almost desperate attempt to immerse himself in history, to tell the story of a tragic family tree that is indeed earthy, complex, simple, and effective. The effects of incest, dredgers, breweries, politics, love, exploring,and reclaiming are all tied together by means of looking at Tom Crick's past, fears of the future, and problems in the present. Mary, Tom's wife, who kidnaps a baby from the supermarket, is one of the characters that interested me most. I became interested in the way her character interacts with both Tom and his 'brother' Dick, as well as her school girl curiosity that seems to drive her into more trouble than it does understanding. I believe that curiosity is also one of the main themes of the story. Curiosity and the need to know, the need for explanations, is the main argument for the necessity of history. Our desire to know means that we must look at history, and all of its mistakes, and take heed. A troubled family, a family name with a history of cursed luck, special ale, tales of ghosts and superstition, fires and predictions--all are elements of a tale that keeps the reader curious. Although I found myself wanting to put the book down and never pick it up again, frustrated, and a little confused, realized that by accepting the story, and drudging through it, as does its characters, the pay off in the end makes the journey worth while. A crazy Sarah Atkinson, a shady Ernest, hopeful businessmen George and Alfred, poor Helen, Freddie Parr

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2000

    The Fairytale of History

    Graham Swift's Waterland relates Tom Crick's attempt to reclaim his life, or, in his words, 'to make things not seem meaningless'(241). Tom, a history teacher, believes that 'History begins only at the point where things go wrong'(106)and, correspondingly, the novel begins after his life has fallen apart. Very effectively, the novel relates Tom's story, seemingly a fairytale, and proves that asking 'why?' purges fear. Tom teaches his students that history is the result of fear. After Tom has become the victim of one of reality's 'suprise attacks of the Here and Now'(61), whereby he loses his wife to mania and his job because of her actions, he must look to the past and attempt to discover 'Whywhywhy'(107), just as history, 'the record of decline'(140), must try to determine a cause for the present. The question 'why' results from a fear of reality. When confronted with reality, Tom, like his Crick ancestors, begins a story, the fairytale of his life. In attempting to explain, Tom is forced to not only 'reanimate in our imaginations his troubled life and times but even to penetrate the generations before him'(107). Tom realizes that he is looking for a particular point, just as Johannes Schmidt searched for the exact location where eels breed. However, in his effort to fix a zenith, whereby the decline of his life can begin, he comes 'not to an Explanation, but to a knowledge of the limits of [his] power to explain'(108) and just as Schmidt had to settle for an approximate location, Tom relizes that there is no exact moment, or event to blame, but more or less a multitude of factors, which have caused Mary to fall and forced him to follow. Waterland is a brilliant accomplishment by Graham Swift. The novel is fashioned in story-like, fairytale format, where some of the events are almost too horrible to be true, but too real to be fiction. Tom's story, which becomes progressively more real as the novel unfolds, not only entertains, but incites fear and pity in the true Aristotilian tragic format. It causes fear because the events portrayed could happen to anyone and pity because the consequences, which Tom is suffering from, are not entirely his fault. At its conclusion, the novel creates a catharsis for, not only Tom, but the reader as well.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2000

    Simply a Masterpiece

    Waterland is one of the great novels of the twentieth century--really, of any century. The timescape is dazzling, the narrator is fascinating, the plot is masterful. You must read this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2013

    Iceshade

    May I join? And do you have a deputy? If not may I be?

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2013

    Sparklestar

    Waits for new members

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2012

    Seashanty

    Hello everyone! Waterclan is now accepting all cats, no powers or evil. Please post your looks, age, name , and status. Example: SeaShanty, gray shecat with blue gray eyes, medium age group, mated and with kits.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2012

    Dawnfire

    Name: dawnfire descripition: a mottled she cat with electric blue eyes.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2012

    Fawnstep

    She ads in with Lionpaw.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2012

    Snowstar

    Hi

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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