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The Water Knife: A novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, May 26, 2015
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This is a USED book. It does NOT include any supplemental materials such as; access codes, info-trac, CDs, etc. All text is legible & may contain markings, highlighting, bookstore stickers, etc. There will be wear and tear, but that is why you are getting such a great price. In some cases the item may be quite worn. Orders ship same or next business day.
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The Windup Girl had such an interesting world that was so rich in character that 2 years after reading it I can still picture and smell the streets depicted in the story. This book - just a crude poorly written porn scene is all that stands out in my mind - and that's mostly because it felt very out of place... like the Kindle accidently downloaded a 50 Shades page or two in the middle of this mess.
Overall - meh.
Whereas The Windup Girl presented a starkly different world in many respects, The Water Knife takes place in a very recognizable society, the southwestern United States, with the only difference between it and the present day being a shortage of water. The states of Nevada, Arizona and California are at war over allocation of the Colorado River, with spies and frontier justice abundant. The novel focuses on three major characters, a Las Vegas “water knife” (hired killer), a journalist based in a dying Phoenix, and a female Texas refugee.
This is not a bad book, however it is very much inferior to The Windup Girl, in my opinion. Stripped down, it is little more than a mystery/thriller and the society presented is too similar to that of today to add anything to the underlying story.
The ‘water knife’ is a euphemism for an enforcer of water rights and a hunter of anyone trying to access water without legal authority. Angel is one of the best, in the employ of the sharp female administrator of Las Vegas’s Water Authority, Catherine Case. He becomes involved with a hunt for a water-rights treaty granted to Native Americans—a priceless document so old that it would take precedence over all existing agreements—and in the process, becomes involved with a female reporter who’s gone from being an observer to being in the thick of the life and death struggle of everyone in Phoenix as the water runs out and the dangers only grow more unbeatable.
However, the most frightening thing about this novel is its basis in fact—much of the disastrous environment described has been warned of in a non-fiction book, "Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water" by Marc Reisner. That book was published in 1987, and much of what he warned about is starting to manifest itself—such as the present severe drought conditions in California.
Like most doomsday-scenario stories, “The Water Knife” describes people on the edge, people in trouble, and twisted people who take advantage of chaos to create their own little fiefdoms of violence and tyranny. I never read such stories purely for the goth-like rush of people being cruel and dark—but in cases where I feel the story will give insight into something real, I put up with it—especially from a writer as good as Bacigalupi. And this is an exciting, engrossing tale of intrigue, passion, and ‘history as a hammer’, for all its darkness.
Most recent customer reviews
That's easy. Nothing!
I regret that I wasted money and time plodding thru 152 pages of this book before tossing it in the...Read more