Memory of Water: A Novel

Overview

The award-winning speculative debut novel, now in English for the first time!

In the far north of the Scandinavian Union, now occupied by the power state of New Qian, seventeen-year-old Noria Kaitio studies to become a tea master like her father. It is a position that holds great responsibility and a dangerous secret. Tea masters alone know the location of hidden water sources, including the natural spring that once provided water for her whole village. When Noria's father dies,...

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Memory of Water: A Novel

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Overview

The award-winning speculative debut novel, now in English for the first time!

In the far north of the Scandinavian Union, now occupied by the power state of New Qian, seventeen-year-old Noria Kaitio studies to become a tea master like her father. It is a position that holds great responsibility and a dangerous secret. Tea masters alone know the location of hidden water sources, including the natural spring that once provided water for her whole village. When Noria's father dies, the secret of the spring reaches the new military commander . . . and the power of the army is vast indeed. But the precious water reserve is not the only forbidden knowledge Noria possesses, and resistance is a fine line.

Threatened with imprisonment, and with her life at stake, Noria must make an excruciating, dangerous choice between knowledge and freedom.

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Editorial Reviews

Helsingin Sanomat - Finland newspaper
“An emotionally nuanced study in morality, which draws its suspense from love, choices, and the mark that everyone leaves on the world.”
Turun Sanomat - Finland newspaper
“An exceptionally fine debut novel in which all elements come together in a controlled and well-considered manner. At the same time, the novel is fascinating and addictive.”
Kirkus Reviews
2014-05-07
Delicate medium-future fable that first appeared in Finland in 2012.Global warming has destroyed the old world and its order. Wars were fought over energy resources and water, rendering Norway and Sweden uninhabitable. Now the empire of New Qian rules Asia and much of Europe. In the far north of occupied Finland, where even in winter the temperature rarely drops below 50 degrees and water shortages are endemic, 17-year-old Noria Kaitio studies under her father to become a tea master. Not only must Noria learn the ceremony, with its underlying philosophy and ethics, but she must be introduced to her father's greatest secret: the location of the hidden spring from which the water for the teahouse derives. The region's military chief, Maj. Bolin—a family friend and frequent guest—has been protecting the teahouse, but as water shortages become ever more acute, Bolin's successor, Cmdr. Taro, proves less accommodating. After soldiers dig up the grounds and trash the teahouse, finding nothing, Noria's mother leaves to take up a position at a university in China, hoping Noria will join her. Meanwhile, Noria's friend Sanja, a young woman with an extraordinary talent for fixing broken junk recovered from ancient landfills, recovers what she fails to recognize as a CD player. In the same landfill, Noria finds a disk, which they are able to play and whose contents hint at an extraordinary and dangerous secret. After her father dies, Noria makes plans to learn the truth.Itäranta's fine debut is lyrically rendered, vivid and engaging despite a bit too much philosophy and a less-than-satisfying ending.
Library Journal
★ 05/15/2014
Noria Kaitio's home in the far future Scandinavian Union is hardly recognizable after climate change resculpted the physical landscape (it hasn't snowed in a century) and China's domination of much of the globe has reshaped the political world. Because Noria's father is the local tea master, her family has a larger water ration than most of her neighbors, who face constant shortages. The tea ritual also brings important people from the ruling military regime to her home from as far away as the capital in New Qian. Although it is unconventional to train a girl to perform the tea ceremony, Noria's father teaches her the rituals and shares with her a dangerous secret. VERDICT The writing is gorgeous and delicate in this dystopian award-winning debut, which is unique in both its setting and the small scale that Finnish author Itäranta employs. A larger world, with huge problems, is hinted at but not shown. Because the reader stays with the beautifully realized character of Noria and the village she inhabits, the tension is high even though the pacing remains measured.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062326157
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/10/2014
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 487,261
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

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