Then a man from the city of Manchester arrives, spokesman for a vast industrial project that will devastate both the landscape and the local community. Mardale will be flooded to create a new reservoir, supplying water to the Midland cities. In the coming year this corner of Lakeland will be evacuated and transformed.
Jack Liggett, the Waterworks' representative, further compounds the problems faced by the village as he begins a troubled affair with Janet Lightburn. A woman of force and strength of mind, her natural orthodoxy deeply influences him. Finally, in tragic circumstances, a remarkable, desperate act on Janet's part attempts to restore the valley to its former state.
Told in luminous prose with an intuitive sense for period and place, Haweswater remembers a rural England that has been disappearing for decades, and introduces a young storyteller of great imaginative and emotional power.
Sarah Hall was born in Cumbria and currently lives in Norwich, Norfolk. She is the author of four novels: Haweswater, The Electric Michelangelo, The Carhullan Army, and How to Paint a Dead Man; a collection of short stories, The Beautiful Indifference; original radio dramas; and poetry.
She has won several awards, including the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Novel, the Betty Trask Award, the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, the James Tiptree, Jr. Award, the Edge Hill University Short Story Prize, and has twice been recipient of the Portico Prize. She has been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, the Prix Femina Etranger, the Arthur C. Clarke Award for science fiction, the BBC National Short Story Award, and the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. This year she was named one of Granta’s Best Young British Novelists.
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Ms K Cannon on 16-05-18
Beautiful & Evocative
To enjoy this book you have to slow to the pace of the fells, it's not a quick read bogged down in rain and mud and earth - but this isn't a criticism. The text is like a landscape painting, rich and visceral, the view unchanged in centuries. You have to take time to appreciate it, immerse yourself in the view.
The characters have been chiselled out of Cumbrian stone, hard and and unyielding, or somehow impenetrable, as if the landscape clings to them as much as they cling to it and their way of life. ,
The water is wonderfully evocative throughout the book, the giver and taker of lives. The valley 'built for holding water' contrasted to Jack's father trying to keep the water in the canal, a pointless task.
The start of Part Two dragged, it was difficult to place the reader without the help of familiar characters, though the impersonal tone could reflect the corporation. This titular section, written with extreme authority, was slightly like a history textbook at times.
I am not sure if any of this novel is based on a true story but certainly it's highly informed and by the end it felt like 'truth' - merging no doubt with fiction. But that is Hall's strength.
As with 'The Wolf Border', Hall deftly rises the tension throughout the book, arriving at its dramatic conclusion, and surprising epilogue. I'm not not sure if we needed the epilogue, whether it made the book less believable.
Fall into the landscape and be absorbed by its timeless beauty and fragility - or adaptability to change. .
By Emlyn on 10-12-17
What a let down after the Wolf Border. The plot was very poor and the characters irritating. There was too much Mills & Boon in there to make it bearable. The whole thing had an air of unreality about which made the writing seem very immature. None of this was helped by the Thesp who read it- every sentence was utterly over read!