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Singing Waters by Ann Bridge

Singing Waters (1946)

by Ann Bridge

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"Singing Waters" struck me as less a novel than an exposition of the state of Albania in the years immediately prior to the outbreak of the Second World War. The characters spend an unusual amount of time discussing the politics of the time, the imperialistic expansionism of Mussolini's Italy, and the relationship between mechanization and the loss of meaning in human life.

Surprisingly readable for all that, and highly interesting as a historical and philosophical essay, but slightly disappointing in plot (or lack thereof). ( )
1 vote muumi | Aug 15, 2009 |
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In this novel Ann Bridge takes the little-known country of Albania for her background and just as in Illyrian Spring she brought to life the flowers and the architectural beauty of Dalmatia, so in Singing Waters she recreates the primitive grandeur of Albania. But in one important respect this novel differs from its predecessor, for Albania is not only a magnificent setting, it is also an integral part of the ideas and ideals that underlie and inspire this book. The Albanian way of life demonstrates a noble standard of values that is rapidly disappearing under the pressure of modern materialism.
The theme is developed in a subtle combination of events and interplay of personalities. The central character is an unhappy and disillusioned young widow who goes to Albania as the result of a chance encounter on the Istanbul express. A fellow passenger tells her that there, in the so-called backward country, she will find a life that contains something far more satisfying that the restless gaiety of her cosmopolitan clique. Later, living in the feudal household of an Albanian prince, absorbing an atmosphere of of immemorial dignity, and enjoying the friendship of two remarkable women - one a mature and cultured English writer, the other a wise old American doctor - she comes to understand what he had meant. And when, for the second time, she is faced with a tragic outcome to her hopes of happiness in love, she is able to find solace among the granite heights and singing waters of Albania.
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