Written by Books

Waterland by Graham Swift

Earlier this year, I was cycling through Fen Drayton, the Cambridgeshire nature reserve, with a friend, and he mentioned reading Waterland some years earlier. I’d always known of the book but had never read it. But now I was beginning to become interested in this strange landscape, that is as man-made as any other landscape. So while I was there, I picked up a copy.

Waterland is a fabulous book.

The book tells the story of a semi-fictionalised fenland village and town, through a series of flashbacks that slowly reveal long hidden stories of what truly happened.

Within the fiction is a lot of fact, and it’s a great foundation for learning about how the fens were drained and turned into some of the most valuable arable land in the country – the ground being so fertile. The historical asides can be lengthy, but they’re never anything less than fascinating. I was swept away into a world that I knew so little about.

I was mesmerised by the whole thing.