Thursday, May 05, 2005

Water, Inc. by Varda Burstyn

This excellent eco-thriller is a worthy antidote to the Michael Crichton-saturated science-thriller market. Varda Burstyn packages environmental consciousness in a popular genre format. When I read this book, there were time when I was torn between opposing thoughts that either this is the greatest book ever written or it is very good pulp fiction. Ms. Burstyn walks a tightrope skillfully between the two. I found the book exciting and fun. I didn't find Ms. Burstyn's woven polemics a distraction from the tale as the Guardian UK's review points out below, rather they are a vital element to the tale. I cannot wait for the next book in this series. I seriously hope her book encourages a new breed of contemporary socially-conscious thrillers.

What the Guardian UK had to say:

Water Inc., by Varda Burstyn (Verso, £12.99)
Yet another year of severe global warming drought, and water-starved America is burning up. Enter a group of unscrupulous megabillionaires headed by William Ericsson Greele, who have this cunning, secret $15bn plan to build a pipeline from Quebec to Ohio to pump trillions of gallons of water a year from Canada to the US. Luckily, a handful of environmentalist heroes get to hear of the plan and launch a huge "Eau No!" campaign. Greele and his greedy cronies are naturally not going to take this lying down, and they turn very nasty indeed - a journalist is shot, a man is burned to death in his house, a car is blown up, politicians are threatened. All of which have the makings of a cracking eco-thriller, except that the author, a lifelong environmental campaigner, never passes up an opportunity to give a lengthy lecture on a whole range of eco-issues. The result is a book that had great potential but is massively over-written and cluttered with too many characters, and an essentially exciting plot becomes mired in polemics.

Verso books:

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