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From the bestselling author of Apple Tree Yard – now a major BBC One series – a masterful novel about the secrets in one man’s past – and the possibility of redemption.
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.
A thoughtful, gripping and impressive novel about race and morality
With Black Water Doughty uses the tropes and pace of a thriller to look intricately at race, grief, what makes a family a family, communism, historical events and the disparity of social classes as well as those between Asia and the rest of the world. That is quite something and sure to please Doughty’s many existing fans while bringing her many new readers too.
This serious novel marks a departure for Doughty, whose psychological thrillers ... have been so successful. This one strays more into le Carre territory - where she seems equally at home
Pulls off the John le Carre trick of combining real moral complexity with page-turning excitement
It is absolutely gripping and a thriller, definitely, but also a meditation on guilt and responsibility.
Such an engrossing read, I finished it much too fast because I could not put it down. It made me think, it made me cry and it made me want to root for Harper and yet hate what he did. That's a real feat.
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