Sunday, October 15, 2023

Audiobook Review: The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese

The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese book cover and review
I read Cutting for Stone and really enjoyed it. Verghese is such a great storyteller. So when I saw The Covenant of Water, there was no hesitation on my part. And I was totally correct. I think this is one of my new favorite books of all time.

I'm inserting part of the description, because I can't do better: Spanning the years 1900 to 1977, The Covenant of Water is set in Kerala, on South India’s Malabar Coast, and follows three generations of a family that suffers a peculiar affliction: in every generation, at least one person dies by drowning—and in Kerala, water is everywhere. At the turn of the century, a twelve-year-old girl from Kerala’s long-existing Christian community, grieving the death of her father, is sent by boat to her wedding, where she will meet her forty-year-old husband for the first time. From this unforgettable new beginning, the young girl—and future matriarch, known as Big Ammachi—will witness unthinkable changes over the span of her extraordinary life, full of joy and triumph as well as hardship and loss, her faith and love the only constants.

There is so much to this story, much like Cutting for Stone. It spans generations. It takes you from India to Ireland (and you have to just be patient to see how things all fit together.) The characters are so richly detailed that they feel like a part of your own life. My only complaint is that I wasn't ready for it to end. There were some situations that I would have liked more resolution, although the ending is comfortable. It isn't a cliffhanger or anything. But I was so involved that it felt abrupt.

Verghese narrates the audiobook himself and is superb. He has an accent, but it is appropriate and easily understood.

It is a long story, but it flies by. I highly recommend the audio version. The only thing I didn't realize is that there are illustrations. So either get a copy of the book or go to I wished I had known this while reading because I would have liked to see the illustrations at the proper part of the story as I was listening. The Covenant of Water will stick with me for a long time.

Published by Grove, May 2, 2023
Audiobook obtained from
736 pages

Rating: 5/5

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  1. I am hearing good things about this novel and I also liked Cutting for Stone. My reading is taking a beating right now so I can't imagine takinig on a novel that is 700+ pages long. Good to know there are illustrations so that when I do get around to reading it, I'll do the print version.

  2. I am looking forward to reading/listening to this. It is our book club selection for January, so I know I will get to it soon.


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