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Memory of Water

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  6,283 ratings  ·  970 reviews
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. Te ...more
Paperback, 263 pages
Published June 10th 2014 by Harper Voyager (first published January 24th 2012)
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Everett N If this is still relevant, it was a good and quick read. It's futuristically set in a dystopian future which is interesting for a class read. It's a s…moreIf this is still relevant, it was a good and quick read. It's futuristically set in a dystopian future which is interesting for a class read. It's a somber book with light violence but it is tasteful and poetically written.(less)

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Average rating 3.70  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,283 ratings  ·  970 reviews

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Imagine you’re listening to the radio. A song comes up you’ve never heard before. You don’t know the band, but you like the quiet, melancholic melody. You stop to listen and the more you do, the more you like it. Except, you’re waiting for the song to take flight. You’re waiting for something to happen, something to take the song to the next level and surprise you. It never happens.

That’s what happened to me with this book. I wanted to like it better than I did.

Itäranta writes beautifully, but
Jan 05, 2015 rated it really liked it

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Filled with philosophical themes, existentialism and moments of pure beauty, Memory of Water is a highly original, remarkably intelligent and infuriatingly teasing work of speculative fiction set in a dystopian world.

What we have here is a sad and hopeless world driven to the brink of extinction by its own inhabitants; humans. The global warming caused all the ice to melt, overflowing the oceans. The earth is scorched, the heat is almost unbearable,
Ian Mond
Jan 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
What’s It About

The novel is set years into the future where global warning and rising seas has seen the destruction of cities, the takeover of Europe by China and the scarcity of fresh water.

Noria Kaitio is learning to become a tea master like her father which comes with its own responsibilities. One of which is knowledge of a hidden source of fresh water that used to supply the town but is now kept secret from the military. But for how long…

It’s worth noting that Memory of Water was originally
it could be such a brilliant book, but unfortunately it wasn't. I enjoyed it though, actually I enjoyed the writing, the era, the environment but the story has too many flaws, secrets, dark holes...

The story set in a dystopian world. Due to global warming all ices are melted and apparently contaminated. Now military control remaining water resources and having any secret well or spring or water pipe is a serious crime.

Noria is daughter of a tea master in a small village. Tea masters are watchers
Jul 27, 2014 added it
Itäranta is a Finnish author, and as I understand it, she wrote the book in both Finnish and in English, and it’s been published in both languages. Speaking as an author, let me tell you, that’s pretty badass.

Here’s the publisher’s summary:

"In the far north of the Scandinavian Union, now occupied by the power state of New Qian, seventeen-year-old Noria Kaitio studies to become a tea master like her father. It is a position that holds great responsibility and a dangerous secret. Tea masters alone
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I read this because it was nominated one month for the Sword and Laser book club but lost to a book I had already read.

There are elements of this novel to like. The combination of Scandinavian and Chinese culture for the society of New Qian was really the best part, especially the section combining the northern lights with the Chinese festivals. Beautiful! Magical!

The theme of water scarcity is frequent these days, although having a teamaster in each village/town/city with the secrets of the wa
Jul 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
5 stars and more!

Do you know this feeling, when you close a book and all you can think of is 'Perfect!'?
Well this was one of those rare occasions. Every word where it is supposed to be, every sentence masterfully crafted. And to think that I only read the English translation and was told that the Finnish original was even better ... Kudos to the translator!

This book is about a dystopian world, a society after wars. It is about water, the most sought after good. Though melancholic and hopeless at
Althea Ann
Jul 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Blurb comparing a book to Ursula LeGuin? Gets me to read it every time...

Yes, I can see where the comparison came from. It probably reminds me most of the feel of LeGuin's 'Annals of the Western Shore' trilogy. The similarity is not so much in actual content, but in what is dwelled on; the themes and pace.

This will also appeal to those looking for post-apocalyptic YA who are interested in more thoughtful, character-oriented stories instead of just action.

The setting is a dystopian future Scandin
Mar 02, 2017 rated it liked it
This book had truly beautiful prose and I loved that aspect of it. While I didn't get particularly attached to the characters I did enjoy the story. I really did not the heavy handed foreshadowing. Not only did it throw me out of the story, it made the things that happened late in the story lose their punch. It's hard for me to get really excited about an ending that's telegraphed from the start of the book.

The way this is written is beautifully evocative and it suits the feel of the tea ceremon
Feb 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I went into this book blind, knowing nothing about it other than the title which screamed to me “environmental apocalypse”. That wasn’t far off, although I guess it’s more dystopian than apocalyptic. Water resources are limited as one would expect by the title, and access to them is strictly controlled by the military.

Sometimes these types of books feel tedious to me because they tend to have similar themes and plots. I really enjoyed this one, though. There were some gaps in the world-building
David Holmes
This is a book club read that I would probably never have heard of otherwise. It's a sort of post-apocalypse dystopia, but not quite like any I've read before.

For the first 200 pages, I was enjoying it quite a bit. The setting had some serious plausibility issues, but I was able to overlook them because I was engaged and curious about the world. Unfortunately in the latter half of the book, some things happened that started to really annoy me.

I see that this book is labeled "young adult" by some
Dec 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Memory of Water is a slow story, a story which takes all the time it needs to unfold. Although it’s post-apocalyptic and dystopian, the focus is more on the emotional journey of the protagonist, who comes to understand her world and her place in it. The background is really fascinating, amalgamating a Finnish setting with Asian tea ceremonies. The prose and the pacing all echo those tea ceremonies: deliberate, considered, every movement relevant and part of the whole.

It’s not about dramatic clas
A fairly quick read, not sure how to rate it yet. I mostly liked the writing but found descriptions a little confusing sometimes, and my attention wandered occasionally.
Nov 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult, sf
This is a lovely, lyrical novel. It takes place long after a water shortage. The reader doesn't see the wars or the chaos, just the new world that has emerged. The traditions and cultures that underpin the new society are at once recognizable and new. The main characters are capable and inquisitive teenagers who never act more heroic than is believable. I loved that the author didn't ever pander to the tropes of current teen lit. There's connection and conflict between characters, but no boy to ...more
Mary Robinette Kowal
Oct 21, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: ebook, sf
After oil wars, come water wars. Seen through the eyes of a tea master, the obsession with water creates a visceral view of the future.
Dec 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
This fell a little flat for me. I will be back to elaborate. I just bumped this to 4 stars. It has lingered over the last few days. I keep thinking about water. Then I think about the issues the world has with water. Drought in Africa, Flint Michigan, there is a town in California that has no running water, potable water in India, there is so much more....The Dakota Pipeline.... Then I think about this novel. Yes, it fell a bit flat. It wasn't quite what I was expecting, this was a quiet, subtle ...more
May 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 4-stars, read-2020
After all these years I have finally read this. And I'm glad I did.

In a world where the water is about to end, having a secret water source is a dangerous secret to keep. It's weird to think water ending but that is a realistic possibility and when it hits you, the book really sinks in. I love this take on dystopian YA with a world view of a reality. It says do something, think about this. What if tea starts to grow in Finland? We already see that winters are changing drastically. So yeah, this
A Poetic, Dark, Dystopian Speculative Fiction Novel that is One of the Year's Best

In hauntingly beautiful prose, Emmi Itäranta's "Memory of Water" is one of the finest dystopian speculative fiction novels I have read, worthy of comparison with Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale", George Orwell's "1984" and Walter Miller's "A Canticle for Leibowitz", offering readers a future that is as bleak and as terrifying as those depicted in Atwood, Orwell and Miller's celebrated novels. It is also one
Feb 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This didn't strike me as something I would enjoy but I was very impressed by it. Set in a stark, dystopian future where water is scarce, teenage Noria Kaitio is becoming a tea master and growing up very quickly. She soon becomes the keeper of two very important secrets; the illegal water spring entrusted to her by her father and, with her best friend, historical evidence of where the water went. She soon starts to resist the government and her subversive struggle leads her down a dangerous path, ...more
Feb 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: scifi-club-read
I loved the writing! I usually don't get into how well authors write but I really enjoyed the beautifulness (see how good my writing is?) of Itarana's words. The setting was equally dark and lovely. Feelings, emotions, ambiance all came through clearly and with meaning. The story was a tad aimless, it felt like there was enough subject matter for a trilogy and nothing received as much attention as I would have liked. A good read from a new author. ...more
Apr 01, 2018 rated it liked it
The writing in this book is absolutely lovely. It's lyrical, almost meditative, and really pulled me into a sense of place and tone. I could feel the heat pushing down on me, and the bugs buzzing in the air. The descriptions were lush and evocative, especially when describing the tea ceremony. It is easily one of the most beautiful pieces of writing I've read in quite some time. While I was reading I was absolutely engrossed and transported. Whenever I set the book down, however, things would ni ...more
Stephanie Ward
'Memory of Water' is a captivating dystopian novel that portrays what life would be like if water became incredibly scarce and countries were more than willing to go to war over it. Noria is our teenage main character and the story follows her as she trains to follow in her father's footsteps as a tea master - a very powerful position full of responsibilities and secrets. Due to global warming, the world as we know it is long gone. Water is one of the most sought after resources - and politics a ...more
Oct 02, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: science-fiction
I really, really wanted to like this book. I love post-apocalyptic fiction and I love dystopias, and I was excited to read a post-apocalyptic novel set in or near Finland and written by a Finnish author. Unfortunately, above all I love a gripping story, and for this reason I was ultimately left disappointed.

I have three main issues with this book. While the flowery language with its colourful metaphors was initially beautiful and intriguing, at some point my eyes began to glaze over as soon as t
Sivananthi T
Jan 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to start my reading year with books that reflected on the world we live in, and how that impacts the future we create. Memory of Water weaves together the themes of climate, conflict and militarisation set in a dystopian future - but looking at this novel in 2020, we can already see the seeds being sown currently for this. The landscape severely changed due to the climate crisis, sees no more glaciers, sea water levels having risen altering the map of the world, and fresh water supply c ...more
Just like Severance, which I read only yesterday, this reads much more like literary fiction than a dystopian/post-apocalyptic novel. Had I read it before Severance, I might have given it 4 stars. Maybe. As it is, it's almost impossible not to compare the two and Severance gets extra points for having a more relatable protagonist. ...more
Mar 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dystopia, audiobook, ya
I listened to the Finnish audiobook version of this dystopia from a future we might be heading into. Itäranta does not spell it out, but it's pretty clear that she is talking about the climate change, which in the time where this novel is set has led to a new geography. Many parts of the world as we know it today are now under water. Ironically, the most pressing daily issue is the lack of clean drinking water.
Itäranta's prose is beautiful and the picture that she paints of a possible future is
Feb 27, 2016 rated it liked it
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Kathleen Minde

Emmi Itaranta’s debut novel, Memory of Water, is a beautifully written cautionary tale about politics, global warming, and a young girl with a dangerous secret. Set in the distant future, global warming has completely rearranged the earth’s geographical footprint and all our oil reserves are long dried up and the planet’s sole remaining natural resource left is water. Both polar ice caps are but footnotes in history, the rivers and lakes are dried up and fresh water is a scarce, expensive commod
Apr 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: finland
A curious book, in a good way. A post-global-warming-and-Chinese-takeover story that at first seems to present itself as yet another Collins-style teenage dystopia, but then shrugs at launching the Big Heroic Plot and instead chooses to act local, mixing buddhist philosophy and stubborn Scandinavian existentialism into something that seems to want to fuse PK Dick and Tove Jansson (OK, enough with the namedropping already).

It's long after the polar icecaps melted, in what used to be central Finl
Michelle Morrell
In the Chinese ruled police state of Scandinavia, a young tea master guards the last spring in hot, brutal world where water is the ultimate currency. This was a gentle, flowing book, crafted well to mimic the water it so venerates.

One of this year's Philip K Dick nominees. If the others are to this level, I'm going to have a hard time choosing a favorite.
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