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The Covenant of Water


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About the Author

Abraham Verghese is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and the author of books including My Own Country and The Tennis Partner. His most recent book, Cutting for Stone, spent 107 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and sold more than 1.5 million copies in the U.S. alone. It was translated into more than twenty languages and is being adapted for film by Anonymous Content. Verghese was awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2016, has received five honorary degrees, and lives and practices medicine in Stanford, California where he is the Linda R. Meier and Joan F. Lane Provostial Professor and Vice Chair of the Department of Medicine at the Stanford University School of Medicine.


One of the best books I've read in my entire life. It's epic. It's transportive . . . It was unputdownable! -- Oprah Winfrey, OprahDaily.com
Splendid, enthralling...this is why literature, in all its comforting and challenging forms, matters -- Maaza Mengiste * Guardian *
Majestic...life-affirming, compassionate, and gripping from start to finish * Mail on Sunday *
Grand, spectacular, sweeping and utterly absorbing * New York Times Book Review *
An important book for its efforts in documenting times and places most readers would be too young to have witnessed. It is also a tribute to the scientific progress that has made human lives healthier, and the sacrifices made by previous generations. * Observer *
Deliciously inventive.... Over the course of three generations, two seemingly disparate, deeply connected narratives unfold in an ode to India, family and medical marvels * TIME magazine *
An immense, immersive work, brimming with interconnected storylines that meander and converge like great river tributaries . . . The novel encompasses intense passion and tragedy, as well as a medical mystery . . . An essential, even healing feat of imagination, a whole world to get lost in * Los Angeles Times *
An epic melodrama of medicine * Wall Street Journal *
What binds and drives this vast, intricate history as it patiently unspools are vibrant characters, sensuous detail and an intimate tour of cultures, landscapes and mores across eras...A magnificent feat * Washington Post *
Much will be written about Abraham Verghese's multigenerational South Indian novel in the coming months and years...Ever the skillful surgeon, Verghese threads meaningful connections between macrocosmic and microcosmic details so elegantly that they are often barely noticeable at first * NPR.org *
Fourteen years in the making, Abraham Verghese's The Covenant of Water was worth the wait . . . A massive achievement. Rarely can such an intricate story, following a dozen major characters over more than 70 years, be described as flying by, but this one does * St Louis Post-Dispatch *
What a joy...to experience the exquisite, uniquely literary delight of all the pieces falling into place in a way one really did not see coming...By God, he's done it again. * Kirkus Reviews (starred review) *
Verghese - who gifts the matriarch his mother's name and even some of her stories - illuminates colonial history, challenges castes and classism, and exposes injustices, all while spectacularly spinning what will undoubtedly be one of the most lauded, awarded, best-selling novels of the year. * Booklist (starred review) *
Verghese outdoes himself with this grand and stunning tribute to 20th-century India * Publishers Weekly (starred review) *
A literary landmark, a monumental treatment of family and country, as sprawling in scope as Edna Ferber's Giant . . . Writing with compassion and insight, Verghese creates distinct characters in Dickensian profusion, and his language is striking... Throughout, there are joy, courage and devotion, as well as tragedy * Library Journal (starred review) *
A lush, literary masterpiece - written with a surgeon's skill and an artist's eye - that delivers a rich, emotional return on the reader's investment * BookBrowse *
Intensely moving...The story is told so exquisitely and the characters, whose lives cross and connect as the water crosses and connects the land, are so rich and vibrant, I feel as though I have walked all those years alongside them...It was an absolute privilege to read this novel. -- Joanna Cannon
From the very first page of Abraham Verghese's The Covenant of Water, I was overtaken with joy. Truly, I caught my breath, absorbing such beauty. What a sure faith this novel is - what an agreement with language. What a glorious story of land and family. What a brilliant path written across generations. -- Honoree Fanonne Jeffers, author of THE LOVE SONGS OF W.E.B. DU BOIS
The Covenant of Water is a brilliant novel, one I feel lucky to experience. It is enthralling; its conjured worlds vigorous and astonishing; its characters so real they call me back to their lives. I wanted to read this book for whole days and nights, and do little else. -- Megha Majumdar, author of A BURNING
This majestic, sweeping story of family secrets - their curse, their legacy, and their cure - is intimate and profound. Abraham Verghese takes us on a journey across nearly a century and more than one continent, all the while dazzling with his rich, elegant prose. Verghese is a literary legend at the height of his extraordinary powers. -- Dani Shapiro, author of SIGNAL FIRES
A novel of utter beauty, The Covenant of Water is worthy of all praise in its depiction of medical ingenuity and family love; it is epic and eye-opening, the sort of story that only a singular mind like Abraham Verghese's could have woven -- Imbolo Mbue, author of HOW BEAUTIFUL WE WERE
Reading The Covenant of Water I felt as if I'd been plunged into an atmosphere thicker than air, or as if I was swimming in a sea of stories, each more intense and unforgettable than the last -- Sandra Cisneros, author of WOMAN WITHOUT SHAME

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