Waterland

  • by Graham Swift
  • Narrated by Christian Rodska
  • 12 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

This brilliant and compelling novel is at once a lyrical description of the Fens, a fictional autobiography, and an impassioned defence of history. The narrator, an English schoolteacher, and his interior world of memories combine with the exterior world of the bleak Fenland landscape to produce a multiplicity of stories. Swift weaves together tales of empire building, land reclamation, brewers and lock-keepers to construct a chronicle that spans three centuries.
Waterland is simultaneously a family saga, a novel of provincial life, a social history and a story of adolescent love.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

It takes 2 reads, but the layers seem endless

If you could sum up Waterland in three words, what would they be?

layered, symbolic, internalized


What did you like best about this story?

The narrator. He tells the story as a memory and part internal conversation. He contradicts himself, because he is working through trauma. How the novel's structure mimics trauma is impressive and interesting to work through. The way he works through his trauma, the reader goes through it with him.


Which character – as performed by Christian Rodska – was your favorite?

No standouts. He does a good job making different voices for different characters.


Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

It is best to, in order to pick up on the repetitions and parallels, which made the novel impressive.


Any additional comments?

The main plot is set during the narrators childhood, this memory is triggered by his current experiences. He frames the story with paralleled stories of the history of the Fens. At first, these historical stories are tough to attach to the main story--especially because of their lengths, but on the second read everything fits. It simply takes 2 reads.
The book questions reality and history--whether they are truly created and organized to distract us from the world's emptiness.

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- Lauren

Brilliant author, provocative style, great performance

In my second reading of this book, I also listened along (using whispersync). Graham Swift's flashbacks and flash forwards, with occasional historical interludes were fascinating and captivating. I think the spoken version alone might be difficult, especially for the first read. I recommend reading along.
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- M. Henderson

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-06-2011
  • Publisher: Audible Studios