Reviews of Memory of Water
A poetic and melancholy debut.
Robert C. Robinson
This novel will attract two audiences – those who enjoy a good YA dystopian adventure, and those who enjoy an adventure with a few strong female characters fighting against the system. It is simultaneously a coming-of-age story, a fantastic adventure, and a bold warning about a future that is all too real.
German reviews and the publisher's site
Melancholy and yet hopeful; beautiful and yet honest about the reality of ugliness; Memory of Water is a carefully crafted, finely observed, and ultimately deeply moving novel.
Brilliant, lyrical prose… Itäranta’s writing is almost a song, working like a melody that sticks in your head more than a series of words that flow by.
Itäranta’s lyrical style makes this dystopian tale a beautiful exploration of environmental ethics and the power of ritual.
Library Journal starred review - debut of the month
The writing is gorgeous and delicate in this dystopian award-winning debut, which is unique in both its setting and the small scale that Finnish author Itäranta employs… the tension is high even though the pacing remains measured.
Itäranta’s fine debut is lyrically rendered, vivid and engaging.
Publishers Weekly starred review
Where Itäranta shines is in her rejection of conventional plots and in her understated but compelling characters. The work is a deceptively tranquil examination of a world of dust and ashes where the tenacious weed of hope still survives.
Memory of Water‘s story deals more in atmosphere than action, but is no less involving for that; Itäranta’s steady piling on of pressure on her protagonist grips, even as her prose soothes.
Memory of Water is an emotionally nuanced moral study that draws its tensions from love, choices and the mark we all leave on the world. Both in terms of style and themes this book is reminiscent of the work of the American Ursula Le Guin.
Helsingin Sanomat Newspaper
The reflections on water, freedom and existence unfold as a whole philosophy of life, where the relations between an individual and the community, the present moment and the eternal are re-evaluated… The language flows beautifully and the thoughts are deep. On the whole, Memory of Water is a truly terrific debut novel.
Turun Sanomat Newspaper
Memory of Water is a magnificent addition to the field of Finnish speculative fiction and gives permission to expect a lot from its author in the future.
I can’t remember the last time I read a story so beautifully written and wise! Emmi Itäranta’s debut is immediately absorbing, despite the fact that I thought I hated science fiction.
Me Naiset Magazine
Emmi Itäranta’s language is carefully crafted, precise and just right. Lyricism and water-related metaphors ease the reader into the rhythm of the book like into the tea ceremony that is central to the story.
Itäranta’s language is springwater clear.
Savon Sanomat Newspaper
Itäranta builds the narrative tension of the novel wonderfully through just the right amount of hinting and concealing… While the plot of Memory of Water is engaging, the greatest achievements of the novel are in creating atmosphere and in its interesting social awareness. As a storyteller Itäranta is akin to the great sci-fi master Ursula Le Guin.
Hämeen Sanomat Newspaper
For a debut novelist, Itäranta’s writing is surprisingly profound. For instance, reflecting on the crucial connection between human life and water is a good literary insight from her part… Her text reads at times like dark prose poetry.
Lapin Kansa Newspaper
The novel’s world view is somber and dark, but Itäranta’s emotional language is so beautifully airy that heavy doesn’t feel heavy… With her Memory of Water, Emmi Itäranta takes a firm foothold among the stars of Finnish science fiction.
There is no doubt we will hear from this debut novelist again, because the strokes of her pen flow beautifully and her choice of subject matter is achingly topical.