When looking for a good book for the bus, a captivating story is the most important thing. The book Waterlandby Graham Swift certainly fits that description. The story is cross between coming of age novel ( as a Canadian I should let you know we love that kind of thing) and a historical fiction novel.
The story flows back and forth(through time ) effortlessly, perhaps modelled on the twisting river that provides the backdrop to the story. The distant past is tangled up with the present and the recent past is tangled up with the future. It is a very good novel.
The story of Crick, the teacher appealed to me because he was no Robin Williams in Dead Poet’s Society. He was a teacher, striving to balance his life and his job with a very foreboding future. He teaches history, but his history class learns about a more personal history. It is a history full of mistakes, regrets, jealousies, joys, relationships and tiny victories. It is a solid read, and is perfect for a commute to work.
The book was made into a less than stellar film–Despite casting the brilliant Jeremy Irons to play the lead, and have him supported by a young Ethan Hawke. If I had to fault the film, it was just that the book was so good. It would take a phenomenal effort to bring it to screen the way the words bring it to life.
I bought the book in Osaka. It was my first trip to Kinokuniya Book Store, I took the book home and read it sitting on the floor in my living room drinking beer from large brown bottles.
I lost the book (not exactly true–but you’ll understand soon enough) when my Australian roommate moved out and hadn’t finished the book. I wanted to keep it, but he wasn’t done with it, so I let him take it. I don’t really regret it, but I hope he liked it and finished it.