As war-reporter Martin Crowther arrives in Umbria, still raw from a recent assignment in Africa, and from a failing love affair back home, a storm hits and the sky opens. Things are powerfully on the move inside him too as he comes to the small village of Fontanalba, on a mission to track down two friends from a lifetime ago.
Adam and Marina are the estranged children of his mentor, Hal Brigshaw, who is nearing the end of a turbulent life and wants to summon them home. But there are good reasons for their self-imposed exile, and not all of them are understood, and not all are in the past. An air of secrecy also surrounds preparations for an event at Fontanalba in which Adam and Marina have an extraordinary role to play. As Martin waits, trapped between duty and desire, he is both intrigued and dismayed by his dealings with a close-knit community, who seem bent on protecting their own - and on shaking the ground of Martin’s life.
"Lindsay Clarke weaves a stunning, compelling tale that tackles the biggest theme of all: the existence of evil, and how ordinary, fallible mortals come to terms with Man's astonishing capacity for brutality and venality... The Water Theatre will linger long beyond the turning of the last page. It is difficult to remember a recent book that is at once so beautiful and yet so thought provoking." - The Times
"Clarke has a gift for believably melding the visible world and human life with larger spiritual and metaphysical forces." - The Financial Times
"It is a rare pleasure and surprise to read a new book whose prose is so rich and emotionally resonant... Lindsay Clarke has an enviable command of character, time, and place. He is almost Lawrentian in his ability to depict both the power and beauty of landscape, and tender or tragically fraught emotional relationships... This is a significant and ambitious work by a master of his craft." - The Independent
"Speaking of writers fulfilling their early promise, Lindsay Clarke’s complex, involving novel The Water Theatre is every bit as good as his stunning debut, The Chymical Wedding... This is a richly involving and rewarding work." - Erica Wagner, best books of the year, The Times
"Bold, tenacious characters and vivid, distinct landscapes give The Water Theatre a strong hold on the imagination as Clarke skilfully draws out the betrayals searing his characters’ lives." – The Financial Times
"Mr. Clarke writes with subtlety and seriousness, and the narrative has a dreamlike, almost supernatural atmosphere. The Water Theatre deserves a bigger audience." - The Wall Street Journal
You can also buy an e-book of The Water Theatre
(ISBN 9781846881671) from Waterstone's
Interview with Lindsay Clarke
Read an excerpt from The Water Theatre
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interview with Lindsay Clarke
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