Blurb from Goodreads
From the author of the #1 international bestseller The History of Bees, a captivating new novel about the threat of a worldwide water shortage as seen through the eyes of a father and daughter.
In 2017, seventy-year-old Signe sets out on a hazardous voyage to cross an entire ocean in only a sailboat. She is haunted by the loss of the love of her life, and is driven by a singular and all-consuming mission to make it back to him.
In 2041, David flees with his young daughter, Lou, from a war-torn Southern Europe plagued by drought. They have been separated from their rest of their family and are on a desperate search to reunite with them once again, when they find Signe’s abandoned sailboat in a parched French garden, miles away from the nearest shore.
As David and Lou discover personal effects from Signe’s travels, their journey of survival and hope weaves together with Signe’s, forming a heartbreaking, inspiring story about the power of nature and the human spirit in this second novel from the author of The History of Bees.
This is an incredibly relevant story for society’s actions regarding climate control, the use of non-degradable plastics and the abuse of water.
The book follows two timelines:
In 2017 we follow the story of sixty seven year old Signe who all her life has battled thoughtless industry practises that have a detrimental impact on the environment.
And in 2041 we follow the story of David and his little girl Lou who are living in an all too realistic post-apocalyptic version of our future where drought and fires are everywhere, people have to flee northwards to camps where water, food and medicines are in severe shortage.
I really liked the premise for this story because it really makes you think about the damage we have already caused to our planet. As I’m writing this review, the rain is falling outside and it really is something that we take for granted. But I know even just last summer we experienced a drought here in Ireland and the thoughts that droughts are becoming more and more commonplace in a country as green and typically wet as my homeland are quite frightening.
But while the premise for this story is a really interesting one ultimately I wasn’t a great fan of how the story was plotted. I felt the link between the two timelines was tenuous at best; in the future timeline David and Lou discovered Signe’s boat but I felt that this wasn’t enough to truly connect the characters. I would have liked to have seen something more concrete in the storyline that would have made David and Lou wonder about the boat’s former occupant/s or some sort of greater mirroring between their life stories.
I also found myself feeling quite frustrated by the characters.
In Signe’s timeline she spent a lot of it lamenting about time’s past but I felt the way the story was revealed to the reader was quite detached and I could never truly empathise with her.
And while I did enjoy David and Lou’s storyline more than Signe’s I felt underwhelmed by the descriptions of David’s motivations as a character. It’s hard to perfectly explain why but I think it could simply be a case of me not personally clicking with this author’s writing style.
Sadly for me this book felt underwhelming with a rushed and detached narrative despite the fabulous premise.
An e-copy of this book was kindly provided to me by the publisher, Simon and Schuster, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review