• Title: Haweswater
  • Author: Sarah Hall
  • ISBN: 9780571209255
  • Page: 491
  • Format: Paperback
  • Haweswater The village of Marsdale is a quiet corner of the world cradled in a remote dale in England s lovely Lake District The rhythm of life in the deeply religious sheltered community has not changed for c
    The village of Marsdale is a quiet corner of the world, cradled in a remote dale in England s lovely Lake District The rhythm of life in the deeply religious, sheltered community has not changed for centuries But in 1936, when Waterworks representative Jack Ligget from industrial Manchester arrives with plans to build a new reservoir, he brings the much feared threat of The village of Marsdale is a quiet corner of the world, cradled in a remote dale in England s lovely Lake District The rhythm of life in the deeply religious, sheltered community has not changed for centuries But in 1936, when Waterworks representative Jack Ligget from industrial Manchester arrives with plans to build a new reservoir, he brings the much feared threat of impending change to this bucolic hamlet And when he begins an intense and troubled affair with Janet Lightburn a devout local woman of rare passion and strength of spirit it can only lead to scandal, tragedy, and remarkable, desperate acts From Sarah Hall, the internationally acclaimed author of the Man Booker Prize finalist The Electric Michelangelo, comes a stunning and transcendent novel of love, obsession, and the passing of an age.

    One Reply to “Haweswater”

    1. This is the third book I have read by Sarah Hall, and I have to say she is an amazingly gifted writer. I loved The Electric Michelangelo and approached Haweswater with eager anticipation. It did not disappoint.Haweswater tells the story of the quaint English farming village of Marsdale which in 1936 is due to be flooded through the creation of the Haweswater dam and reservoir, to be sacrificed for the greater good. Jack Ligget is a Waterworks representative who arrives to apprise the village res [...]

    2. There is always a danger when you have such high hopes for a book. 'The Electric Michelangelo' was one of my favourite reads of 2004 and I quickly sought out Hall's previous novel. 'Haweswater' has been waiting on my shelves since as I was worried it might not live up to my hope.It did. And possibly exceeded them. This is straight up there as one of the best reads of this year. I'm not a great one for The Classics but this has the classic weight and tone that I do respect (like it says on the co [...]

    3. I think it's just me -- I don't get Sarah Hall. I struggled to the halfway point and gave up. It just seemed dreadfully overwritten and portentous to me, laden with overdone symbolism to such an extent that however realistic the descriptions and setting, the characters didn't seem like real people, more mythic creatures. The encounter between Jack and Janet sheltering from the rain seemed directly lifted from the encounter of Aeneas and Dido in a thunderstorm in the Aeneid!

    4. I make it my job to buy a book in an indie bookstore in every new place I visit. My choice in Sam Read's Bookshop in Grasmere was Haweswater. With Sarah's powers of description, I felt as if I carried a piece of the Lake District home with me. This is a story of a close-knit and insular community, the glue of which is the land their families farm, some for generations. A community of just 25 houses, a manor house, a pub, a church and a one-roomed schoolhouse, set in a stone valley. Into this com [...]

    5. *Spoiler Alert*I was about to give this 3-stars, until being totally disappointed by the last 30 pages or so. Throughout, I had problems with character development and plot. She hooked me with initial descriptions of people, but then left much unexplored and no reason for some of the earlier narrative. It was like she was not totally clear which direction she wanted the story to go or which characters she wanted to focus on. I was willing to overlook this in light of what is still an engaging se [...]

    6. Ok, I selected this from our stacks because it was of reasonable length, and I figured that if it was good, I could blast through two others of hers that we have on hand. BUT, I wondered what the hell I was reading in short order. There is payload about the small, isolated, Lake District community, Mardale, in which the action is set. The story has to do with the Manchester Waterworks coming to town and telling folks sorry, but we will be filling up your lovely valley and village. A dam is plann [...]

    7. In the early 1930s the Haweswater Dam was built to help to meet the increasing demand for water in the increasingly industrialised north of England.And so a valley was flooded. And two villages – Measand and Marsdale Green – were destroyed.The price of progress is high. Landscapes, communities and homes, all lost.And Sarah Hall brings all of this back to life, using words oh so beautifully. Images of farming communities, whose lives follow ways established generations ago, are sent against t [...]

    8. I came to the books of the Cumbrian novelist Sarah Hall rather late with the short story collection The Beautiful Indifference. That was her fifth book and it blew me away. Since I read it I've been working backwards through the rest of her work - How to Paint a Dead Man, The Carhullan Army, The Electric Michelangelo, and now, finally, her first book, Haweswater. All have a sinewy Cumbrian feel to them, and that is most pronounced in Haweswater, a novel woven around the real-life creation of the [...]

    9. I read this book after discovering Sara Hall's second novel -- The Electric Michaelangelo -- and loving it. In this, her first book, you can see Hall's gift for crafting language but her pyrotechnical skills are much more subdued than in the Electric Michaelangelo. Perhaps that is an intentional part of the story. She evokes the time, place and characters of her tale beautifully. It is set in a remote valley in northern England, in the 1930's. It is a quiet farming community, both literally and [...]

    10. This was a hard read for me. The writer is so lyrical, so poetic, she so loves this corner of England that the reader has to shift gears all the time. The setting is lovely, the plot good, the characters not lovable, the romance painful, the outcome even worse (spoiler, sorry).I can understand the structure of the story, the yin and yang of the personalities. It's just that I would have been happier with an Annie Proulx version.

    11. The story of a Cumbrian village and its inhabitants who will soon be displaced by the drowning of their land to make way for a reservoir. I'd heard great things about Sarah Hall, but struggled to get through this book. Though there is a strong sense of place and some enjoyable parts - particularly focussed on the character of Janet Lightman - I found it heavy on research as opposed to story.

    12. Stunning. Exceptionally beautiful prose and an all pervading sense of threat make this an engaging and memorable read. Also includes one of the most heart-rending descriptions of grief I have ever read, I was welling up.

    13. As always Sarah Hall displays a tremendous ability to bring a region, an environment, a town to life, but the book suffers from shifting narratives and character focuses.

    14. Beautifully written and very descriptive of the area in which it is set. But oh so gloomy and sad, there is not one whit of humour to counteract the sadness. It is pretty relentless.

    15. This novel has a fabulous tragic conceit: a rural town in the beautiful hills of north England in the 1930s, a community of sheep herders and subsistence farmers. A feral young girl, her silent and brilliant brother. A steadfast father who adores his daughter and a mother whose religious conviction makes her rigid in personality. Enter the evil corporation from Manchester that wants to build a dam, divert the river, and flood the town. Enter handsome young engineer who is tasked with the job of [...]

    16. This novel, in my opinion, attempts to manipulate the reader's emotions in a way that I do not find stimulating. It's as if I am not supposed to make up my mind about the various moral quandries posed in the novel. Rather, there's a clear answer that I should agree with. Because if we remove the moral aspect of this novel, we are basically left with a love story, which is another term for romance novel and that's OK, provided I was looking to read a romance novel.

    17. I live surrounded by reservoirs, which nestle among the moors, drowning valleys that once were the centres of people's lives. So this novel about constructing a reservoir in Cumbria, designed to provide water for far away Manchester, appealed to me. The characters are beautifully drawn, and the tensions which tear the community apart are dramatically conveyed. The story is, I think, based on fact. Highly recommended.

    18. Some of the things which annoyed me about this book: the never-ending, highly-romanticized descriptions of the landscape; a city man and spirited farmer's daughter starting a tempestuous affair after speaking to each other exactly twice; and the use of dashes instead of quotation marks for dialogue.

    19. Book lovers haunting the moors of literary fiction in search of another tryst as stirring as Wuthering Heights should embrace Sarah Hall's first novel, Haweswater. Although the book's tardy, modest arrival in the United States (four years after it first appeared in England, and now only in paperback) probably condemns it to obscurity here, this young writer has enjoyed extraordinary success in England. Haweswater won the Commonwealth Best First Novel Award, and her second book, The Electric Mich [...]

    20. I found this slow-paced novel to be a fairly compelling read even though the writing was too descriptive for my taste and the florid prose seemed to get in the way of the story at times. It was also a very melancholy tale.The novel is set in the small village of Mardale in England's Lake District. This is a farming community where families have lived for generations and little has changed over the years. But in 1936 Jack Liggett arrives from Manchester in a flashy car. He represents the Manchest [...]

    21. My friend, Rebecca, brought me this book that she picked up on a bargain table at a bookstore and read several months (maybe even a year?) ago. I was interested in reading it because it was set in the Lake District in England, an area where I spent some time a little over a decade ago. This book tells the story of the village of Mardale, which was evacuated and eventually flooded to be used as a dam to supply water to Manchester.Hall certainly loves words and has a gift for crafting word picture [...]

    22. 2009 bookcrossing:Just finished this one this evening. The ending was pretty depressing.This was a slow moving, wordy book. It took me a while to get into it to be honest. It's certainly not in a rush to get anywhere. Although to be honest, once I did get into it, I really did enjoy it, and overall I think it was a great book. Not one if you're wanting a quick and light read thoughI found the details of life in the lake district pre world war II really interesting and atmospheric - now, I don't [...]

    23. When the Manchester Water Works plans to build a reservoir in the valley those whose homes and lifestyles are threatened respond with a mixture of hostility and grudging acceptance. The feisty, unconventional heroine is one of the few characters willing to fight. But then she starts an obsessive and passionate relationship with the very man whose job it is to make the project a reality.The plot is quite slow-moving with a touch of the 'Return of the Native' in its mourning of a lifestyle that co [...]

    24. Hmmm, the fate of the majority of the characters in this book was more depressing than I prefer. It could be that I just generally prefer to read "happy endings," or at least less sad endings, but so much darkness at the end of a novel just seems like a tired literary device after awhile to me.However, along with other reviewers, I really did enjoy the author's beautiful prose, which transports you to the lush valley area of Cumbria, in northern Britain. The author succeeds at evoking the rich w [...]

    25. I initially put this book on my to-read list because I thought I had read something else by this author, but turns out I was thinking of a different author. Nevertheless, I started this book and while I liked the prose at some points, I felt like the book was taking me on a long ride and I was just waiting for something to happen. Stuff eventually did happen, but it was without the fanfare that I had expected. It just happened and then more stuff continued to happen. It wasn't really that shocki [...]

    26. As I neared the end of the book, I thought I would give it three stars. While I never connected with the characters, other than perhaps the father, I found the writing to be quite good, and the descriptions of the village environs interesting. It was the very end of the book that led me to drop a star. From the time Jack and Janet begin their affair it is obvious something tragic is going to happen so Jack dying was no surprise. That Janet blows herself up seemed a bit out of character, but I ac [...]

    27. Reminiscent of Hardy and Lawrence, but without the hearfelt empathy that these writers exhibit in their work. At least something happened in the book, and it was rather well-written. For a more fulfilling read about a public works scheme, I thoroughly recommend 'Sweet Thames' by Matthew Kneale. I have to say I did not shed a tear, as the back of the book promised. And let it me said that I am not known for my heart of stone and dry eyes. Took me too long to read. Two full months. Other reviews c [...]

    28. I picked up this book hoping to get some insight into the building of the dam at Haweswater and what happened to surrounding area. The descriptions of the landscape are excellent and there is a strong sense of place throughout the book. The characters were not particularly likeable and the romance was flawed. Coupled with some changing focus, melancholy outcome and being slow to get going this was not an easy read. Hall does better on the geographical and social elements - adequately portraying [...]

    29. Overall, the story is a bit dark and falls into the category of Oprah's Book Club. Takes place just before WW2 and follows a family from a tiny village in England's Lake District whose village is being wiped out by dam being built to serve the water needs of Manchester. They are simple, yet complex farmers - the main character examined being the daughter, Janet. She and her mother are strong women and it is surprising when Janet pursues a relationship with the man who is the representative from [...]

    30. This is a beautifully written book, with an emotional storyline to boot. It provides a really fascinating insight into what life was like for people who grew up in rural Cumbria all those years ago. Raw, hard and unforgiving. But incredibly simple and pleasing. If you grew up in Cumbria or have an interest in the area, the constant mentions of familiar places, events and people and the old Cumbrian dialect will make you feel like you are living the story. And then just to make the book even bett [...]

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