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Praise for The Covenant of Water:

An Amazon Top 10 Book of the Month
Named a Most Anticipated Book by the Washington PostMinneapolis Star TribuneOprah DailyPublishers Weekly (Top 10), Literary Hub, and BookPage

“In the spirit of his breakout novel, Cutting for Stone, Abraham Verghese offers an epic melodrama of medicine . . . The miraculous melds naturally with medicine in The Covenant of Water, whether in the form of artistic inspiration or religious awakening . . . Most remarkably, this depth of emotion comes across even in descriptions of surgery, which one would expect to be faceless and technical, if not merely sickening. But not so in the taut depiction of a skin graft for a burn victim or a trepanning procedure to relieve a man’s swollen brain of fluid.”—Sam Sacks, Wall Street Journal


“When you come to the end of Abraham Verghese’s new novel, The Covenant of Water, you will feel that you have lived among the Indian and Anglo-Indian characters who populate its pages for almost a century. It’s that long. But it’s also that immersive—appropriately enough for a book so steeped in the medium and metaphor of water, as the title suggests . . . These lives, so finely drawn and intensely felt, are at once singular and inextricably bound together within the immensity of fate and faith—like ‘the water that connects them all in time and space and always has.’”—Ellen Akins, Minneapolis Star Tribune


“Fourteen years in the making, Abraham Verghese’s The Covenant of Water was worth the wait . . . A massive achievement. Rarely can such an intricate story, following a dozen major characters over more than 70 years, be described as flying by, but this one does . . . [Verghese] goes deeply into the history and culture of southern India while telling a story so engaging and lyrical it never seems academic . . . The Covenant of Water is a rousing good story, full of joy and tragedy and humor and beauty and ugliness—sometimes all at once . . . Verghese is a master at keeping these disparate characters on parallel paths that converge down the line. If you ever think he is wandering astray, be assured that he isn’t. All will come together in the end in a way that may make you gasp in appreciation. Throughout, Verghese woos us with beautiful language.”—Gail Pennington, Saint Louis Post-Dispatch


“A family in Kerala, India, is affected with the Condition: Each generation one person dies by drowning. For more than 70 years Big Ammachi survives tragedy and triumph, growing from a 12-year-old bride into the matriarch as her country also comes into its own.”—Kate Tuttle, People, “Best New Books”


“Ever since Cutting for Stone, we have been eagerly awaiting another book by Abraham Verghese, and what a breathtaking return this is . . . An extraordinary look at what past generations have endured for the sake of the present, Verghese’s tribute to 20th century India is a literary feat you won’t want to miss.”—Brittany Bunzey, Barnes & Noble Reads


“Come to this epic novel by Verghese for the history of Kerala, India; stay for the devoted elephant. The bestselling author (and Stanford doctor) recounts the Parambil family’s ups and downs through a century of change, interlaying some of his medical expertise but never losing his commitment to how love allows people—and sometimes beasts—to choose goodness and care over politics and brutality.”—Los Angeles Times


“Breathtaking . . . The book beautifully explores the lessons we learn from our ancestors in an always changing world.”—Real Simple


“Both a compassionate family saga and an account of medicine, politics, art, women’s rights, and the legacy of British colonialism in India . . . Vast in scope and also surprisingly intimate, Verghese’s novel covers most of the 20th century in India, but is ultimately the story of a family—blood and chosen—caring for each other through all of life’s challenges and changes.”—Shelf Awareness


“Three generations of a South Indian family are marked by passions and peccadillos, conditions and ambitions, interventions both medical and divine . . . As in the bestselling and equally weighty Cutting for Stone, the fiction debut by Verghese (who’s also a physician), the medical procedures and advances play a central role—scenes of hand surgery and brain surgery are narrated with the same enthusiastic detail as scenes of lovemaking. A few times along this very long journey one may briefly wonder, Is all this really necessary? What a joy to say it is, to experience the exquisite, uniquely literary delight of all the pieces falling into place in a way one really did not see coming . . . By God, he’s done it again.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)


“A literary landmark, a monumental treatment of family and country, as sprawling in scope as Edna Ferber’s Giant . . . Writing with compassion and insight, Verghese creates distinct characters in Dickensian profusion, and his language is striking; even graphic descriptions of medical procedures are beautifully wrought. Throughout, there are joy, courage, and devotion, as well as tragedy; always there is water, the covenant that links all.”—Library Journal (starred review)


“Instantly and utterly absorbing is the so-worth-the-wait new novel by the author of Cutting for Stone . . . Verghese—who gifts the matriarch his mother’s name and even some of her stories—illuminates colonial history, challenges castes and classism, and exposes injustices, all while spectacularly spinning what will undoubtedly be one of the most lauded, awarded, best-selling novels of the year.”—Terry Hong, Booklist (starred review)


“Breathtaking . . . By the end, Verghese perfectly connects the wandering threads . . . Verghese outdoes himself with this grand and stunning tribute to 20th-century India.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)


“A masterpiece. Put it on your bookcase next to A Passage to India by E.M. Forster or anything by the brave and brilliant Salman Rushdie. Indeed, put it next to any great novel of your choice. Sprawling, passionate, tragic and comedic at turns . . . Verghese, probably the best doctor-writer since Anton Chekhov, upends all of our expectations . . . You won’t want it to end.”—BookPage (starred review)


“Reading The Covenant of Water I felt as if I’d been plunged into an atmosphere thicker than air, or as if I was swimming in a sea of stories, each more intense and unforgettable than the last.”—Sandra Cisneros, author of Woman Without Shame


“From the very first page of Abraham Verghese’s The Covenant of Water, I was overtaken with joy. Truly, I caught my breath, absorbing such beauty. What a sure faith this novel is—what an agreement with language. What a glorious story of land and family. What a brilliant path written across generations.”—Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, author The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois


The Covenant of Water is a brilliant novel, one I feel lucky to experience. It is enthralling; its conjured worlds vigorous and astonishing; its characters so real they call me back to their lives. I wanted to read this book for whole days and nights, and do little else.”—Megha Majumdar, author of A Burning


“This majestic, sweeping story of family secrets—their curse, their legacy, and their cure—is intimate and profound. Abraham Verghese takes us on a journey across nearly a century and more than one continent, all the while dazzling with his rich, elegant prose. Verghese is a literary legend at the height of his extraordinary powers.”—Dani Shapiro, author of Signal Fires


“A novel of utter beauty, The Covenant of Water is worthy of all praise in its depiction of medical ingenuity and family love; it is epic and eye-opening, the sort of story that only a singular mind like Abraham Verghese’s could have woven.”—Imbolo Mbue, author of How Beautiful We Were


“Abraham Verghese makes good on the novelist’s covenant with the reader—trust me with your attention and I will reward you with a tale worth inhabiting. With a plot both deliciously languorous and breathtakingly taut, Verghese takes us on a monumental journey over generations and continents, over languages and cultures, across tendons and sinews, and through to human nature at its beating heart. It left me breathless and pining for more.”—Danielle Ofri, author of What Doctors Feel