Tuesday, 7:00 pm EDT May 23, 2023
The Center for Fiction
Registration includes a copy of The Covenant of Water. All registrants will receive a link to livestream the event.
The Center for Fiction is thrilled to invite you to join Abraham Verghese, author of the major word-of-mouth hit, Cutting for Stone, for the launch of his long-awaited new book. The Covenant of Water is a masterful multigenerational novel set in Kerala, India with all the rich, incisive prose fans of his work will love. In 1900, a twelve-year-old girl grieving the death of her father in a family where one person dies of drowning in every generation is sent by boat to her wedding, where she will meet her forty-year-old husband for the first time. The young girl—and future matriarch, known as Big Ammachi—will witness unthinkable changes over the span of her extraordinary life, full of joy and triumph as well as hardship and loss, with her Christian faith and love the only constants. Verghese will read aloud sections of his literary, spellbinding work and discuss the influence of his medical profession, the craft of writing, and themes of time and generational change in an extended Q&A with the audience.
Abraham Verghese is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and the author the NBCC Award finalist My Own Country and the New York Times Notable Book The Tennis Partner. His most recent book, Cutting for Stone, spent 107 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and sold more than 1.5 million copies in the U.S. alone. It was translated into more than twenty languages and is being adapted for film by Anonymous Content. Verghese was awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2016, has received five honorary degrees, and is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. He lives and practices medicine in Stanford, California where he is the Linda R. Meier and Joan F. Lane Provostial Professor and Vice Chair of the Department of Medicine at the Stanford University School of Medicine. A decade in the making, The Covenant of Water is his first book since Cutting for Stone.
Photo Credit: Jason Henry
The Covenant of Water
By Abraham Verghese
Published by Grove Atlantic
Spanning the years 1900 to 1977, The Covenant of Water is set in Kerala, on South India’s Malabar Coast, and follows three generations of a family that suffers a peculiar affliction: in every generation, at least one person dies by drowning—and in Kerala, water is everywhere. At the turn of the century, a twelve-year-old girl from Kerala’s long-existing Christian community, grieving the death of her father, is sent by boat to her wedding, where she will meet her forty-year-old husband for the first time. From this unforgettable new beginning, the young girl—and future matriarch, known as Big Ammachi—will witness unthinkable changes over the span of her extraordinary life, full of joy and triumph as well as hardship and loss, her faith and love the only constants.
A shimmering evocation of a bygone India and of the passage of time itself, The Covenant of Water is a hymn to progress in medicine and to human understanding, and a humbling testament to the difficulties undergone by past generations for the sake of those alive today. It is one of the most masterful literary novels published in recent years.
A Reading by the 2023 Whiting Award Winners
Thursday, 6:30 pm EDT March 30, 2023
Story/Teller Arts: Will Arbery and Chloé Cooper Jones with Leslie Jamison
Wednesday, 7:00 pm EDT April 12, 2023
The Center for Fiction Presents V (Formerly Eve Ensler) on Reckoning with Carole Zimmer
Wednesday, 7:00 pm EDT April 19, 2023
Letters to a Writer of Color with Deepa Anappara, Taymour Soomro, Amitava Kumar, and Madeleine Thien
Thursday, 7:00 pm EDT April 20, 2023
In Translation: Brazil’s Macunaíma: The Hero with No Character with Katrina Dodson, Madhu H. Kaza, John Keene, and Musician Iara Rennó
Wednesday, 6:30 pm EDT April 26, 2023
Sarah Cypher on The Skin and Its Girl with Zaina Arafat
Wednesday, 7:00 pm EDT May 3, 2023