An amazing, award-winning speculative fiction debut novel by a major new talent, in the vein of Ursula K. Le Guin.

Global warming has changed the world’s geography and its politics. Wars are waged over water, and China rules Europe, including the Scandinavian Union, which is occupied by the power state of New Qian. In this far north place, seventeen-year-old Noria Kaitio is learning to become a tea master like her father, a position that holds great responsibility and great secrets. Tea masters alone know the location of hidden water sources, including the natural spring that Noria’s father tends, which once provided water for her whole village.

But secrets do not stay hidden forever, and after her father’s death the army starts watching their town—and Noria. And as water becomes even scarcer, Noria must choose between safety and striking out, between knowledge and kinship.

Imaginative and engaging, lyrical and poignant, Memory of Water is an indelible novel that portrays a future that is all too possible.

June 10, 2014  |  263 pages
(Rated on Oct 5, 2016)
Grade: D    (switch to numeric scale)
L/E Ratio: 50% Literature, 50% Entertainment
Writing Quality:
Low High
Low High

Low High
Movie Potential:
Low High

Low High
Sequel Potential:
Low High
I'm not giving this a rating, my thoughts are too complicated for that. Here's an attempt to explain why. What Itäranta has done here is write a most timely of novels. In a period where genre fiction is percolating through to new markets in the form of 'literary' fiction (I loathe that term by the way, and only use it because we all know what it means), Memory of Water is looking to create a bridge between the two. Yes, it's definitely science fiction, however you spin it, but it carries many