cover image Memory of Water

Memory of Water

Emmi Itäranta. Harper Voyager, $14.99 trade paper (272p) ISBN 978-0-06-232615-7

In a backwater Scandinavian community lucky enough to have survived the catastrophic transformations in Earth’s climate in the near future, Noria Kaitio dreams of becoming a tea master like her father and his forefathers before him. This dream is threatened when change comes to the village in the form of Commander Taro, a ruthless New Qian functionary who quickly discovers that the Kaitio’s unassuming tea house hides secrets worth killing for. Confronted with histories suppressed by the autocratic world government, and burdened with the guardianship of a hidden spring in a drought-plagued world, Noria considers bold action, but can she act before Taro’s noose closes around her neck? The basic components of Noria’s world—calamitous climate change, oppressive world governments, grasping officials—are quite familiar, and in lesser hands this would be just another unremarkable dystopia. Where Itäranta shines is in her rejection of conventional plots and in her understated but compelling characters. The work is a deceptively tranquil examination of a world of dust and ashes where the tenacious weed of hope still survives. Agent: Elina Ahlback. (June)