As part of the Fiction Uncovered 2011 promotion, we worked with The Reading Agency to reach reading groups across the UK. Eight selected reading groups were given one of the selected Fiction Uncovered titles to read, and we’re delighted that they’ve been able to feed back their thoughts. Here, Cornwall’s Penzance Library reading group, Reading in the Bath, tell us what they thought about Lindsay Clarke’s The Water Theatre.
‘The Water Theatre is a spellbinding and captivating book, a novel of outstanding psychological depth. It held our attention to the end: we became bound up with the characters and wanted to see how they managed to resolve the issues that had separated them. The main characters are deeply interesting in their own ways, real people with strengths and terrible weaknesses.
‘The story follows the journey of Martin, a disillusioned war reporter with a strong vein of poetry in his soul. It takes us between times and landscapes, moving from the snow-covered moors of West Yorkshire to the heat and political turmoil of Africa, and eventually to a remote part of the Umbrian countryside, where the final drama is literally played out in the Water Theatre. It is a book of extremes: darkness, light, love, hate, trust, betrayal, life, death, war, beauty etc. We especially liked the inclusion of the myths and folk stories, which took us on a further journey into and beyond the book.
‘It is a book in which the tapestry of words conjures up vivid pictures and moods. The writing is just lovely and very sensual; it draws you in and wraps you in language, and you are lost within it from the opening sentence. Some of us were literally unable to put it down, reading snatches in every spare moment. You fully expect to find yourself in the scenery he was describing – walking on the snowy moors, the dust and industrial environment of the mill, dozing in the sunshine in Tuscany. The ending with its themes of darkness and light, death and redemption, is stunning.’
Lindsay Clarke reads an extract from The Water Theatre.
Sarah Crown, judge for Fiction Uncovered 2011, on The Water Theatre.