The Covenant of Water

The Covenant of Water is the long-awaited new novel by Abraham Verghese, the author of Cutting for Stone. Published in 2009, Cutting for Stone became a literary phenomenon, selling over 1.5 million copies in the United States alone and remaining on the New York Times bestseller list for over two years.
Spanning the years 1900 to 1977, The Covenant of Water is set in Kerala, on South India’s Malabar Coast, and follows three generations of a family that suffers a peculiar affliction: in every generation, at least one person dies by drowning — and in Kerala, water is everywhere. The family is part of a Christian community that traces itself to the time of the apostles, but times are shifting, and the matriarch of this family, known as Big Ammachi, literally “Big Mother,” will witness unthinkable changes at home and at large over the span of her extraordinary life. All of Verghese’s great gifts are on display in this new work: there are astonishing scenes of medical ingenuity, fantastic moments of humor, a surprising and deeply moving story, and characters imbued with the essence of life. A shimmering evocation of a lost India and of the passage of time itself, The Covenant of Water is a hymn to progress in medicine and in human understanding, and a humbling testament to the hardships undergone by past generations for the sake of all of us who live today. It is one of the most masterful literary novels published in recent years.
May 5, 2023

Doctor-novelist Abraham Verghese unpacks his long-awaited new epic - Los Angeles Times

Abraham Verghese - The Covenant of Water - WAMC Radio

A great new novel that teaches how to be a good doctor — The Lancet

Oprah chose well. 'The Covenant of Water' is a rich, heartfelt novel. — The Washington Post

Abraham Verghese's Sweeping New Fable of Family and Medicine - New York Times
'The Covenant of Water' tells the story of three generations in South India - NPR
Author photo
Abraham Verghese, M.D.
Book cover picture
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