"You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me." - C.S. Lewis
Megan is an 18 year old student who agrees wholeheartedly with the quote above. Someone who delights in the simple pleasures of the world, she'd spend all her days surrounded by books and a pot of tea. She is willing to read books of almost any genre, although her favourites tend to be Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction and Contemporary.
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Smashwords book reviews by Megan Williams
- The Water Thief
on June 14, 2012
In a sentence: The Water Thief is a rather serious dystopian novel!
I truly enjoyed all of the characters in this book. The main dude, Charles, is literally the poster man for a normal bloke and it’s only with the catalyst of the woman who vanishes that he starts to rethink his perception of the world around him.
I could relate to every single character in this book. They were all flawed in ways that were very real and very human – nothing dramatic, but qualities that you can easily recognise in anyone nowadays; selfishness, naivety, ignorance, etc. Obviously they (almost) all have good qualities too, but sometimes I feel that it’s difficult to find stories where characters aren’t either 100% good and decent, or completely, shockingly horrible. The characters in The Water Thief were all ones that I could understand, and I loved that, although none of them were particularly exciting and with the exception of Charles, it felt very like ‘what you see is what you get’.
The setting in The Water Thief is an extreme capitalist society. We know that there are varying ‘grades’ of person, and where they live/socialise/etc is defined by their grade, akin to the film “Time”, or perhaps a slightly less dramatic version of The Hunger Games. What is more interesting is the presentation of a world where everything has value and must be paid for – including air! Even a person’s future has a value and they are literally owned by the corporation they work for, as is everyone around them. They can’t simply get up and leave, because said corporation would hunt them down in order to collect on their investment – plus, they’ve never know any better, so they don’t really understand cause to fight against it.
Most people are barely able to survive on their income – including Charles, who we come to understand has a decent job and makes a relatively good living compared to others. So essentially, there is this society where everything people do is defined by their ambition, and arguably their need to climb the ranks and obtain more security, and the material possessions that they covet. Inevitably, this doesn’t make for a very pleasant existence; friendships are nonexistent and families are limited.
But it doesn’t have to be that way... or does it? I won’t deprive you of finding out!
I hope you’re not confused; I did admittedly find myself to be as I read the story and sussing out the world it was set in was difficult. It took me a while to fully understand what was actually going on and I felt there was a lack of detailed world-building.
This was not an easy read, but then it is hugely political... soooo no surprise there! You do get the sense that the author is highly anti-capitalist. I would probably say that I didn’t really enjoy reading this, but it was beneficial as it certainly made me think about my perception of society as it is and that is always good!
The majority of this book is rather uneventful; it consists of discussion concerning the way things are in society, the way things were and the way things should be, between Charles and various other characters, or in Charles’s own mind, but then that is probably the nature of this kind of book. It was indeed interesting and without a doubt thought provoking, but it did not have me turning the pages in any sort of hastened manner until roughly the 70-75% mark, where we get some semblance of action. The ending was, I felt, appropriately ambiguous.
In some respects, I’ve never been less sure of how I felt after reading a book. I liked the ending, I found the story intriguing and the issues did interest me, but it didn’t draw me in as a piece of fiction. I probably would’ve stopped at the 20% mark if I wasn’t determined to finish books I read!
My Favourite Quote
“It was as if the man had been born an adult, in his suit, and he wore it like armour, like he was bulletproof.”
It’s not the most philosophical, or interesting, or well written quote in the book – but I just love that imagery. I mean, come on, if you’re going to wear a suit, THAT is how to do it.
I’m probably not exactly the target audience for this book as it is likely better suited to those who are more informed about extremist capitalist societies and have formed a better personal idea of what they believe – these are generally not the ethical or philosophical questions which I have concerned myself with yet. But hey, a book should be able to be read by anyone, right?!