The Covenant of Water

Category: Book
By (author): Verghese, Abraham
Subject:  FICTION / Family Life / General
  FICTION / General
  FICTION / Literary
  FICTION / Medical
Audience: general/trade
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic
Published: May 2023
Format: Book-hardcover
Pages: 736
Size: 9.00in x 6.00in
Our Price:
$ 39.95
In stock

Additional Notes

From The Publisher*

From the New York Times–bestselling author of Cutting for Stone comes a stunning and magisterial epic of love, faith, and medicine, set in Kerala, South India, and following three generations of a family seeking the answers to a strange secret

The Covenant of Water is the long-awaited new novel by Abraham Verghese, the author of the major word-of-mouth bestseller Cutting for Stone, which has sold over 1.5 million copies in the United States alone and remained on the New York Times bestseller list for over two years.

Spanning the years 1900 to 1977, The Covenant of Water is set in Kerala, on South India's Malabar Coast, and follows three generations of a family that suffers a peculiar affliction: in every generation, at least one person dies by drowning-and in Kerala, water is everywhere. At the turn of the century, a twelve-year-old girl from Kerala's long-existing Christian community, grieving the death of her father, is sent by boat to her wedding, where she will meet her forty-year-old husband for the first time. From this unforgettable new beginning, the young girl-and future matriarch, known as Big Ammachi-will witness unthinkable changes over the span of her extraordinary life, full of joy and triumph as well as hardship and loss, her faith and love the only constants.

A shimmering evocation of a bygone India and of the passage of time itself, The Covenant of Water is a hymn to progress in medicine and to human understanding, and a humbling testament to the difficulties undergone by past generations for the sake of those alive today. It is one of the most masterful literary novels published in recent years.

Review Quote*

Praise for The Covenant of Water:

Named a Most Anticipated Book by the Washington Post, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Oprah Daily, Publishers Weekly (Top 10), Literary Hub, and BookPage

"Three generations of a South Indian family are marked by passions and peccadillos, conditions and ambitions, interventions both medical and divine . . . As in the bestselling and equally weighty Cutting for Stone, the fiction debut by Verghese (who's also a physician), the medical procedures and advances play a central role-scenes of hand surgery and brain surgery are narrated with the same enthusiastic detail as scenes of lovemaking. A few times along this very long journey one may briefly wonder, Is all this really necessary? What a joy to say it is, 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)

"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

"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."-Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, author 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

Praise for Cutting for Stone:

"A winner . . . Filled with mystical scenes and deeply felt characters . . . Verghese is something of a magician as a novelist."-USA Today

"Beautiful . . . Amazing."-New Yorker

"Verghese creates this story so lovingly that it is actually possible to live within it for the brief time one spends with this book. You may never leave the chair."-Los Angeles Times

"Tremendous . . . Vivid and thrilling . . . I feel lucky to have gotten to read it."-Atul Gawande

"Absorbing, exhilarating."-Seattle Times

"Engrossing . . . Endearing . . . A passionate, vivid, and informative novel." -Boston Globe

"The novel is full of compassion and wise vision . . . I feel I changed forever after reading this book."-Sandra Cisneros, San Antonio Express-News

"Stupendous . . . An epic medical romance, surgery meets history. Beautiful and deeply affecting."-Financial Times

"Vivid . . . Cutting for Stone shines."-Washington Post Book World

"A masterpiece . . . Verghese expertly weaves the threads of numerous story lines into one cohesive opus."-San Francisco Chronicle

"Vastly entertaining and enlightening."-Tracy Kidder

"Wildly imaginative . . . A lovely ode to the medical profession."-Entertainment Weekly

"Compelling . . . Readers will put this novel down at book's end knowing that it will stick with them for a long time to come."-St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"Fantastic . . . Written with a lyrical flair, told through a compassionate first-person point of view, and rich with medical insight and information."-Houston Chronicle

Biographical Note

ABRAHAM VERGHESE is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and the author the NBCC Award finalist My Own Country and the New York Times Notable Book 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 is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. He 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. A decade in the making, The Covenant of Water is his first book since Cutting for Stone.