The Covenant of Water

This was a long one (and truthfully a slog at times — it’s quite dense and over 700 pages long!) but I am really happy I read it. While parts really dragged (I am just being honest!), the last eighty pages were magnificent. All of the little details came together so beautifully, making the more tedious parts so worthwhile. The book is the story of a family in Kerala (on South India’s Malabar Coast). It follows three generations of a family from 1900-1977. The book opens with a with a twelve year old girl on her wedding day, set to marry a much older (forty years old) man. Their family suffers a strange condition: in every generation, at least one person dies by drowning. We watch this young girl go from child to family matriarch (ultimately becoming known by all as “Big Ammachi.”) Big Ammatchi is an incredible character. We meet her children and grandchildren, we watch the family multiply and suffer extraordinary losses. It is a long book, with a lot of emotions and a truly extraordinary ending. It felt tedious at times but I loved the story.