by Graham Swift

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Featured image for Waterland

This took me forever to read and I’m not sure why. It’s interesting, informative, rambling, full of weird and wonderful characters, really super well written, but I just didn’t find it that engaging for a long time. It was only when I was nearing the end and all the threads of the story began to fully weave together that it became a really good book. For the longest time there was just too much going on.

I’ve enjoyed Graham Swift’s books before and this book won the Booker Prize back in 1983, I was sure it was going to be a winner for me. The plot is rambling to say the least. Tom Crick is a history teacher in his 50s and the book is the tale he tells his classes when he gives up relating the history curriculum he’s supposed to and starts to tell the story of the Fen area he grew up in intertwined with his personal and family history.

So many fascinating bits, I think that the book could take a lot of rereading. It’s something that having finished once I could read again and get a lot out of, after having struggled through quite a lot of it the first time around. But I’m unlikely to do so as I rarely reread anything these days. Basically it seems a better book now I’ve finished it than it did when I was reading it, which is perhaps a bit strange but I think a lot of good books are like that, I just wish I’d enjoyed more of it whilst I was reading.