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Gathering the Water by Robert Edric
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Gathering the Water

by Robert Edric

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Excerpts from my original GR review (Dec 2010):
- A trusted man, Mr Weightman, is assigned the rather thankless, mundane task of traveling to a far northern England in the mid 1800s to monitor the gradual creation of a man-made lake... to chronicle the structures and terrain to be consumed by the rising waters, at the behest of a distant "Board". The local populace is equal parts bitter and resignedly ignorant, content to put off their inevitable remove.
- Our chronicler takes residence in a rickety abandoned house, and walks the doomed valley in solitary duty, and in his aloneness is quick to make a testy acquaintance with Mary Latimer, a widow who has moved back to her childhood home to care for her delusional sister. They sprinkle each other with questions, teasing out past sorrows but otherwise not providing the reader with anything that creates empathy for the main characters. Weightman periodically comes across the equally hike-happy Mary..reminding me much of a Hardy novel I read. But all to what end? I see no clear themes or messages here, and though the writing has a poetic softness, it grown stale over time. ( )
  ThoughtPolice | Apr 18, 2018 |
5 stars for part 1, 4 stars for part 2 and 3 stars for the rest. The language is lovely and the idea and the place it is set in. However the tone was too unvaried and the end was too predictable. A bit like life perhaps, but luckily for me - not quite like my life. ( )
  Ma_Washigeri | Jun 17, 2014 |
Gathering the Water is the story of Charles Weightman, who has been given the unenviable task of supervising the flooding of the Forge Valley . The board has built a dam, which requires that the bulk of the valley be flooded in the name of progress. The consequence of this is that most of the valley's inhabitants will lose their homes. Needless to say, they resent Charles, and do not seek to make him welcome. Charles is aptly named, for he bears not only the weight of the town's hardship, but also the heavy heart of a man whose beloved fiancée has passed away. His only pleasure lies in the company of Mary Latimer, a widow who has returned to her hometown to take care of her mentally challenged sister. Charles struggles to complete his task as he increasingly identifies with the townspeople.



Robert Edric is a good writer and a competent storyteller, however it is difficult to sustain enthusiasm for this novel. Perhaps it is a matter of taste, but the TurboBookSnob thought this novel was a bit of a snooze.
  TurboBookSnob | Jan 17, 2008 |
A book about drowning - literally and metaphorically.
1847 and Charles is given the job of overseeing the flooding of a valley in Yorkshire and the eviction of its remaining inhabitants.
Charles himself has taken the appointment to put off grieving for his dead fiancee and immerses himself in his work instead. It soon becomes clear to him that the company's motives in appointing him are to deflect the locals from realising the scale of the consequences of the project. He finds a kindred spirit in one of this neighbours, but she is also drowning in guilt over her mad sister. There is little so finite as sinking or swimming for Charles who is torn every which way as the flooding gathers apace.
A fine novel with a strong undercurrent about man's destruction of the environment. Highly recommended indeed. ( )
  gaskella | Nov 20, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0552999741, Paperback)

It is 1847, northern England, and Charles Weightman has been given the unenviable task of overseeing the flooding of the Forge Valley and evicting its lingering inhabitants. Weightman is heartily resented by these locals, and he himself is increasingly unconvinced both of the wisdom of his appointment and of the integrity and motives of the company men who posted him there. He finds some solace, however, in his enigmatic neighbour, Mary Latimer. Caring for her mad sister, Mary is also an outsider, and a companionship develops between the two of them which offers them both some comfort and support in their mutual isolation. As winter closes steadily in and as the waters begin to rise in the Forge Valley, it becomes increasingly evident that the man-made deluge cannot be avoided; not by the locals desperate to save their homes, nor by the reluctant agent of their destruction, Weightman himself.

In a masterful new novel, Edric captures powerful human emotions with grace and precision. The hauntingly resonant backdrop to this story of David and Goliath marks Edric’s dramatic return to historical literary fiction.


From the Hardcover edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:33 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

In northern England, Charles Weightman has been given the task of overseeing the flooding of Forge Valley, & the eviction of its lingering residents. As the winter creeps steadily forward & the waters begin to rise in Forge Valley, it seems that the impending deluge cannot be avoided: neither by the locals, nor by Weightman.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

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