The Water Here is Never Blue

The Water Here is Never Blue

This book review first appeared in the November 2013 issue of Life in Québec Magazine.
Life in Quebec Magazine is a lifestyle publication covering the Quebec region and is published at least 3 times per year.
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The Water Here is Never Blue, by Shelagh Plunkett, Priced $30.00, published by Penguin

In this sparkling memoir, Shelagh Plunkett carries the reader in her pocket as she comes of age in Guyana and Timor.

Water is in the words as Shelagh’s family travels overseas with her father – an engineer harnessing the power of water. To Shelagh, her father is both as essential and as hard to hold on to as the slippery substance he studies, and suspicion that he is a spy deepens the mystery surrounding him.

Water_here_never_bluePlunkett’s style ebbs and flows like water throughout the story. In Guyana, water is everywhere. As Shelagh absorbs the local culture, Guyanese rhythms percolate through the text until you feel rivers flowing through the land and the language. In parched Timor, the scarcity of water echoes Shelagh’s dry, sheltered expat life. As Shelagh loses her innocence and her feeling of belonging to Guyana, the undulating rhythms fade from the text, leaving only Shelagh’s thirst for community and for her often absent father.

Though the reader longs for insight into the unrest – alluded to but unexplored – in Guyana and Timor, Plunkett respects the mystery shrouding those events in the narrator’s mind, mystery that shapes Shelagh’s identity as young adult, expat, and daughter following the shifting currents of life.

Review by Mary Hansen




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