The Covenant of Water (Oprah’s Book Club) by Abraham Verghese

Brief Summary Book of The Covenant of Water (Oprah’s Book Club) by Abraham Verghese

“The Covenant of Water” is a highly anticipated novel by Abraham Verghese, renowned for his bestselling book “Cutting for Stone.” Spanning from 1900 to 1977, the story unfolds in Kerala, on South India’s Malabar Coast, and centers around a family plagued by a peculiar affliction: in each generation, at least one member dies by drowning—a haunting irony in a region surrounded by water.

At the start of the century, a twelve-year-old girl from Kerala’s long-standing Christian community mourns the loss of her father and embarks on a boat journey to meet her forty-year-old husband for an arranged marriage. This event marks the poignant beginning of an extraordinary life for the young girl, who becomes known as Big Ammachi—a revered matriarch in the years to come. Throughout her life, Big Ammachi bears witness to profound societal changes, experiencing both moments of triumph and joy as well as immense hardship and loss. Amidst the shifting tides, her unyielding faith and love remain steadfast.

“The Covenant of Water” is a mesmerizing portrayal of a bygone era in India, capturing the passage of time with shimmering brilliance. It celebrates progress in the field of medicine and human understanding, acknowledging the sacrifices made by previous generations for the benefit of present-day society. Verghese’s narrative weaves a hymn to the indomitable spirit of humanity and serves as a poignant reminder of the complexities and struggles faced by those who came before us. This literary masterpiece stands as one of the most captivating and insightful novels of recent times.

Review Book of The Covenant of Water (Oprah’s Book Club) by Abraham Verghese

Verghese takes us on a captivating journey starting in early 1900s Kerala, where we meet a family with a curious affliction: a drowning death in each generation. While the medical mystery is the hook, the novel’s focus extends far beyond clinical medicine. It delves into the inner lives of the family members, spanning India’s tumultuous 20th century.

Admittedly, the initial 200 pages can be a slow burn, with long expository passages immersing readers in the vivid settings of muggy fields, crowded rooms, and lush landscapes. Verghese’s deliberate pacing allows for a leisurely exploration of the story, though some may wish for a quicker entry into the heart of the narrative.

As the tale progresses, the characters become the soul of the novel. From Digby Kilgour’s surgical practice and tragic life to Big Ammachi’s overwhelming love and unwavering support, each character feels genuine, evoking a strong investment from readers. The subsequent generations add depth to the medical mystery without exploiting their suffering.

The second half of the novel evolves into a compelling page-turner. Verghese masterfully crafts a plot that showcases a profound understanding of the characters, building up to surprising twists and a powerfully emotional conclusion. The novel’s construction is akin to a precision watch, with every piece falling into place, leaving readers moved by the journey they have experienced.

 

Brief Summary Book of The Covenant of Water (Oprah’s Book Club) by Abraham Verghese “The Covenant of Water” is a highly anticipated novel by Abraham Verghese, renowned for his bestselling book “Cutting for Stone.” Spanning from 1900 to 1977, the story unfolds in Kerala, on South India’s Malabar Coast, and centers around a family plagued…