Nominated by:

Helsinki City Library, Finland

Publisher of nominated edition:

HarperCollins USA

Memory of Water

Emmi Itäranta    

Translated from the Finnish by Emmi Itäranta

2016 Longlist

Global warming has changed the world’s geography and its politics. Wars are waged over water, and China rules Europe, including the Scandinavian Union, which is occupied by the power state of New Qian. In this far north place, seventeen-year-old Noria Kaitio is learning to become a tea master like her father, a position that holds great responsibility and great secrets. Tea masters alone know the location of hidden water sources, including the natural spring that Noria’s father tends, which once provided water for her whole village. When Noria’s father dies, the secret of the spring reaches the new military commander . . . and the power of the army is vast indeed. But the precious water reserve is not the only forbidden knowledge Noria possesses, and resistance is a fine line.

Threatened with imprisonment, and with her life at stake, Noria must make an excruciating, dangerous choice between knowledge and freedom.

(from publisher)

About the Author

Emmi Itäranta holds two MA degrees, one in Drama and another in Creative Writing. She’s been involved in an eclectic mix of writing-related activities, including stints as a columnist, theatre critic, press officer and dramaturge. She writes fiction in Finnish and English, and is currently working on her second novel. Her award-winning debut novel Memory of Water (Teemestarin kirja) was originally published in Finland. She lives in Canterbury, United Kingdom.

Librarian’s Comments

In a post-catastrophe world, where water is scarce, a young woman becomes a tea master and a guardian of a secret held in her family for generations. In her world hiding water sources is the gravest of criminal offences and the supreme quality of the tea she serves raises the military government’s suspicions. Written in lyrical, flowing prose this debut novel is a coming-of-age story with a difference. It’s a cleverly plotted, engaging tale about a world that is suffering, but not without hope.

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