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Black Water

Louise Doughty

‘Black Water will delight fans of Graham Greene and John le Carre’ Spectator

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Date Published
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John Harper lies awake at night in an isolated hut on an Indonesian island, listening to the rain on the roof and believing his life may be in danger. But he is less afraid of what is going to happen than of something he’s already done.

In a local town, he meets Rita, a woman with her own troubled history. They begin an affair – but can he allow himself to get involved when he knows this might put her at risk?

Moving between Europe during the cold war, California and the Civil Rights struggle, and Indonesia during the massacres of 1965 and the decades of military dictatorship that follow, Black Water is an epic novel that explores some of the darkest events of recent world history through the story of one troubled man.

Black Water confirms Louise Doughty’s position as one of our most important contemporary novelists. She writes with fierce intelligence and a fine-tuned sense of moral ambiguity that makes her fiction resonate in the reader’s mind long after the final page has been turned.

Critic Reviews

Beautifully written but at times disconcertingly dark, this is a good one for sitting out flight delays.

Critic Reviews

[A]n intelligent thriller so full of shadows that it prickles with the anticipatory tension of a violent storm on a muggy day.

Critic Reviews

Doughty at her suspenseful best, working on a totally different canvas ... Doughty writes superbly about ... sexual passion as a force for change and possible redemption, when the stakes couldn't be higher. A forgotten part of Indonesia's turbulent history is well evoked.

Kate Saunders, The Times
Critic Reviews

Ruthless and ambitious ... a truly gripping read, centering on themes of morality, race and judgement.

Press Association
Critic Reviews

Powerful, probing fiction in the tradition of Graham Greene and John le Carré.

Critic Reviews

Doughty’s language is punchy, visually striking and emotionally potent ... This is a compelling and vivid psychological drama, with plenty of bite.

Leyla Sanai, Guardian
Louise Doughty

Louise Doughty is the author of nine novels, including Platform Seven, Black Water, Apple Tree Yard, which was a top 10 bestseller in UK and Ireland and shortlisted for the CWA Steel Dagger Award and the National Book Awards Thriller of the Year, and Whatever You Love, which was shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award and longlisted for the Orange…

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Louise Doughty