Blog Tour | Review: Black Water by Louise Doughty

Black Water - Louise Doughty

I’m delighted to be the final stop on the Black Water blog tour, Doughty has written a book that is powerful, personal and political, what an experience reading this one was!

From the back cover:

John Harper lies awake at night in an isolated hut on Bali, listening to the rain on the roof and believing his life may be in danger.

The present is uncertain; the past at his heels.

As the sounds of the night close in around him, the question he asks himself is this: what is more terrible – the future that lies in wait, or the past that is catching up with him?

My Thoughts:

I can’t recall a time I’ve read a book that brought such a calmness over me, in the sense that I was fully captivated by this story, it felt so personal, raw in its delivery. Told in three parts; part one and three are set in 1998, Harper, on enforced leave after a grave error of judgement, finds himself at a crossroads, haunted by the past, daring to believe he might have a future. Part 2 details Harper’s life from 1942-65, sharing his childhood and his time working as a government operative. While this is a political novel focusing on the instability of Indonesia and war on the communists during this time, it is also so much more than that.

It’s an in-depth character study, Harper’s journey to redemption and the possiblity of love.

“You can’t run from the sadness inside you all your life, Nicolaas. Don’t you realise you just take it with you?”

Your past is never far behind you and it will eventually catch up with you. And when it does, can you face what you’ve done or will it destroy you? Never in-your-face action but an intensely personal story, in which you really get to know Harper. I can’t explain the exact feeling that this book evoked in me, it was like a dark, calm, sadness washed over me, and it was just me, Harper and our thoughts. Doughty has also weaved a suspenseful undercurrent into this story, the more you read, the more you hope the rain doesn’t fall because you’re not sure Harper can survive the rain, the weather is so unpredictable and it could change at any time, and if the weather changes, so could Harper’s fate (read this book and this will make perfect sense).

Everything in this book is subtle, quiet with a beautiful sadness to it. A slow-burner that surprised me with its personal nature. The slow pace remains throughout, you don’t have to be a fan of political novels to enjoy this one, this story is character driven, driven by John Harper, you feel his desperation. Doughty has written a powerful story that moved me in a way I haven’t experienced before.

This book is available to buy from: Amazon UK / Book Depository

*My thanks to Faber & Faber for providing me with a copy of this book*


Previous stops on the blog tour

Black Water Banner.jpg

17 thoughts on “Blog Tour | Review: Black Water by Louise Doughty

      1. O that’s good to know, as I often worry I don’t talk enough about the technical aspects but I’m sure there’s others that prefer this kind of review too so I’ll do more this way as it’ll allow me to vary the content, sometimes I feel my reviews are so repetitive 🙈🙂


      2. Don’t worry, I think we all feel more or less this way. Your reviews are perfect! And English is not even my first language so if you’re repetitive, I don’t know what I am hahaha

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Great review! I enjoyed Apple Tree Yard, although not so much that I wanted to rush out and buy this, but I’m certainly intrigued now! Another one for the wishlist…

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes. To be honest, I didn’t know what this one was about until reading your review, but it does sound very different. I think I’d (incorrectly!) dismissed it, as I assumed it would be the same kind of novel as ATY.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s