The Covenant of Water

The Covenant of Water


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Gabi's Review


Abraham Verghese’s new novel The Covenant of Water, set in Kerala in southern India, spans the years 1900 to 1977. With humility and empathy, Verghese exposes the conflicts of living in a colonised, caste-segregated society. This saga focuses on two very different characters. Ammanchi is twelve when she is married to a middle aged, dour but kindly widower. Despite her earnest efforts to make the best of her new family, her life is hindered by the constraints of the caste system.

Dr. Digby Kilgour, the son of an impoverished, alcoholic mother, is fleeing Scotland for a new home in India and a new job in a hospital. However, complications arise when he engages in a scandalous affair with a married co-worker.

As its title suggests, The Covenant of Water uses the metaphor of water to show the intersection of the lives of various characters. Ammanchi's family has a cursed history with water which impels her granddaughter into a career in medicine. While the novel shows the power of blood ties, Verghese demonstrates how connections outside the family have larger consequences. Readers of his highly popular novel Cutting for Stone will admire and enjoy this epic and compassionate book.

Publishers Reviews


From the New York Times-bestselling author of Cutting for Stone comes a stunning and magisterial new epic of love, faith and medicine, set in Kerala, South India.