Sunday 17 June 2007

Dry by Barbara Sapergia

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPublished by Coteau Books

Dry is one of those novels that stick in the mind of the reader. It is based in the future, an all too realistic future in which the global warming has worsened to devastating levels. Even if the lack of rain were not a factor, the lands have been ruined by commercial farming, the use of chemicals and so on.

We are introduced to Signy Nilsson and her brother Tomas who are plant scientists. They have been working on finding a way for wheat to grow in the harsh conditions that exist. That alone is a consuming task but when mixed with the constant battle against Magnus Dragland, one of the richest and oldest men around, life becomes much more of a struggle.

Dragland owns almost a hundred square miles of the land that surrounds the Nilsson farm and has tried everything to own their land too. Now that all the legal options have been exhausted, Dragland begins to play dirty and people are getting hurt.

Along with Signy and Tomas, lives David. David is Signy's son who is a remarkably special boy. While he was born deaf, he does hear sounds that seem unavailable to those around him, sounds from the land itself. Along with these characters, we are introduced to countless others, all of whom are written in a very rich and vibrant way.

The novel is a beautiful blend of futuristic, mythological, native and historical themes which flow together seamlessly. The story, while not really fast paced, keeps the reader's attention flawlessly and packs many a surprise within the pages. The author has an incredible gift for being able to weave the facts into the tale in such a way that leaves the reader stunned when they come to light. It added a fun element to a thrilling adventure.

I found the many emotional ties which exist between the characters gave the book an extra something too. Though neatly put together, this novel always gave the impression that the story could quite easily have taken half-a-dozen alternative directions at any point. I haven't often come across a book with that quality before.

A greatly enjoyable read.

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