As war-reporter Martin Crowther arrives in Umbria, still raw from a recent assignment in Africa, and from a failing love affair back home, a storm hits and the sky opens.
Things are powerfully on the move inside him too as he comes to the small village of Fontanalba, on a mission to track down two friends from a lifetime ago.
Adam and Marina are the estranged children of his mentor, Hal Brigshaw, who is nearing the end of a turbulent life and wants to summon them home.
But there are good reasons for their self-imposed exile, and not all of them are understood, and not all are in the past.
An air of secrecy also surrounds preparations for an event at Fontanalba in which Adam and Marina have an extraordinary role to play.
As Martin waits, trapped between duty and desire, he is both intrigued and dismayed by his dealings with a close-knit community, who seem bent on protecting their own - and on shaking the ground of Martin's life.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 450 pages
- Publisher: Alma Books Ltd
- Publication Date: 18/04/2011
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9781846881305
Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.
Review by edwinbcn
Iris Murdoch has often been named as one of the last great novelists writing in the tradition of the Nineteenth Century. Nowadays, few novelists can set up a story with a wide scope and present an authentic personal philosophy. Readers interested in that type of writing may enjoy reading The water theatre by Lindsay Clarke.The water theatre is about the need for people to discover and realize themselves. A lifetime may not be enough, but for help and some luck. The novel, while contemporary, breathes some sentiment of the 1960s and 70s in the background, although its theme is eternal. This theme is explored in different modes in different characters, whether by overcoming anger (Marina and Adam), ambition and lust for power (Hal and Emmanuel), or adoration (Martin). The road to self-realization is littered with pitfalls and traps, such as adultery, betrayal, ambition, fame, etc. Many if not most people are blind to what keeps them from self-realization, a blindness made physical in the character of Marina. Ultimately, deep loneliness, discovered in oneself, or imposed, in the form of the experience in "the water theatre", force the truth about oneself.The water theatre is a profound and sincere story. Characters and plot are intriguing, interesting, and create an original backdrop for the story to develop. The intricate engagements between the characters over the years are entirely convincing. An enticing read.
Review by PaolaF
Beautifully written but the plot, while promising to begin with, takes a sudden dive towards the end. Ultimately disappointing.