Title: Deeper Water
Author: Jessie Cole
Genre: General Fiction
Opening line: ‘…They say every hero has to leave home, but what those first steps are like I’m yet to know…’
Blurb: Innocent and unworldly, Mema is still living at home with her mother on a remote, lush hinterland property. It is a small, confined, simple sort of life, and Mema is content with it. One day, during a heavy downpour, Mema saves a stranger from a flooded creek. She takes him into her family home, where, marooned by floods, he has to stay until the waters recede. And without either of them realising it, he opens the door to a new world of possibilities that threaten to sweep Mema into the deep.
My thoughts: I really, really enjoyed DEEPER WATER. I enjoyed it so much that I am at a loss as to how to review it to give it full justice and no spoilers. I am not sure ‘just because’ is a credible reason as to why I hold the beautiful writing in such high esteem. I am going to give it a try anyway.
Mema is twenty-two and has spent all her life more or less isolated from nearby town and community in their remote NSW home. Home-schooled by her mother, Mema is certainly not uneducated; she is just not very connected to the world outside their property. She is much happier living at one with the land; the flora, the fauna and the creek that runs through it are part of her reason for being – she is at one with it all. The local community have passed judgement on her mother and, as a flow on effect, Mema and her sister. Her mother is a potter who sells her produce in the nearby town and has a reputation for promiscuity because each of her children have had different fathers who have all since moved on. Mema’s brothers have also all left home and there is no contact with them now. Her sister lives nearby with her children but her partner has just abandoned her so when the rain comes and the creek floods she and her children come up to the family home. So it is a very female dominant world that Hamish finds himself in when his car is washed off a bridge while crossing the flooding creek and he is rescued by Mema. For Mema it was just something you do in the bush – lend assistance – but little does she know that when she rescues Hamish from certain death in the raging creek that her contended little universe is going to suddenly expand. Hamish is an Environmental Scientist who is in the area for work; he is a city boy through and through. He is horrified that there is no internet connection, no mobile coverage and the land line doesn’t work; for the first day or so there isn’t even any electricity. And sharing his shower with cane toads does not go down well either, as does the family cat running free. However in the few days that he stays with Mema’s family he learns that simple things like swimming in the creek and running in the rain can be just as enjoyable as being plugged into google. And in return Mema starts to be aware of passions deep inside as she has never spent time alone with a man before, without knowing it Hamish has triggered something deep inside Mema. She is not unaware of sexual attraction – she lives on a farm, and she and she has pleasured herself – but she just hasn’t felt sexual attraction and doesn’t know what to do with it. Having said that DEEPER WATER is not a romance it is a record of the awakening of desire, the awakening of a sleeping woman, the gradual awareness that she can’t ignore the world beyond their property.
The writing is superb – the birth of the calf, the rescue of Hamish, boarding down the creek, and running in the rain. Tension is added in the form of Mema’s wild child friend Anja, another fabulous support character. With a drunken and violent father Anja grew up sleeping rough. Threatened by the arrival of Hamish, Anja is responsible for a disquieting sub-plot in the story. In fact all of the characters that appear fit into their part of the story well; there is not one superfluous character. Each has their role to play, their purpose for being, no one is totally good and no one is totally bad even though some do bad things. DEEPER WATER leaves you thinking long after the last page has been read, and that is how a book should work. As I mentioned earlier, I have really struggled to say why this is such an exquisite story, other than saying that it is beautifully written, evocative and poignant maybe the best I can do is say read it for yourself.
A few of my blogging friends have also read DEEPER WATER:
Lisa from ANZ Litlovers has got her review here
Bree from 1 girl 2 many books has her review here
For more about the author – Click Here
A – Excellent Stuff – a real page turner and hard to put down. I carved out extra reading time just so I could finish it. This book got carted into the bathroom with me, read over meals, read at work, and/or kept me up late at night. If this author has more work, I will certainly read it.
With thanks to Harper Collins and the author via Netgalley for my copy to read and review.