After 14 years, physician Abraham Verghese returns with the follow-up to his 2009 best-selling fiction debut Cutting For Stone. The Covenant of Water follows three generations of an unlucky South Indian family. The Parambils, led by matriarch Big Ammachi, suffer the same tragedy in each generation: at least one person dies by drowning. The over 700-page novel set in Kerala, a southwestern Indian state surrounded by water, between the years of 1900 and 1977, is an evocative work of epic proportions. It is both historical fiction that offers a voyeuristic view into India’s history and a detailed accounting of the medical advancements of the 20th century. Most notably, The Covenant of Water is a religious fable in which Verghese attempts to answer the age-old question: Why do bad things happen to good people? —Shannon Carlin

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