ABOUT THIS AUTHOR
Physician-writer Abraham Verghese is a professor at Stanford University, where he is vice-chair in the department of medicine and director of PRESENCE, a research center exploring the art and science of human connection. He is the author of three books, including his debut novel Cutting for Stone, which spent over two years on The New York Times bestseller list and was named by Amazon one of its “100 Books to Read in a Lifetime.” In 2011, Verghese was elected to the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine, and in 2016, President Obama honored him with a National Humanities Medal. His new novel, THE COVENANT OF WATER, set during the 1940s in Glasgow and in India’s Kerala state, is being released on May 4, 2023.
WHY HE’S JOINING US
Abraham Verghese hasn’t published a book since his beloved international bestseller “Cutting for Stone” 13 years ago, which sold over 1.5 million copies in the United States alone. That makes his new novel, “The Covenant of Water,” one of the most anticipated books of 2023. A physician, writer, Stanford professor, and winner of the National Humanities Medal (presented by President Obama in 2015), Verghese is well-respected worldwide, as much for his writing as for his empathetic and innovative approach to medicine.
“The Covenant of Water” is the long-awaited new novel by Abraham Verghese, the author of “Cutting for Stone.” Published in 2009, “Cutting for Stone” became a literary phenomenon, selling over 1.5 million copies in the United States alone and remaining on The New York Times bestseller list for over two years.
Spanning the years 1900 to 1977, “The Covenant of Water” is set in Kerala, on South India’s Malabar Coast, and follows three generations of a family that suffers a peculiar affliction: in every generation, at least one person dies by drowning–and in Kerala, water is everywhere. The family is part of a Christian community that traces itself to the time of the apostles, but times are shifting, and the matriarch of this family, known as Big Ammachi–literally “Big Mother”–will witness unthinkable changes at home and at large over the span of her extraordinary life. All of Verghese’s great gifts are on display in this new work: there are astonishing scenes of medical ingenuity, fantastic moments of humor, a surprising and deeply moving story, and characters imbued with the essence of life.
A shimmering evocation of a lost India and of the passage of time itself, “The Covenant of Water” is a hymn to progress in medicine and to human understanding, and a humbling testament to the hardships undergone by past generations for the sake of those alive today. It is one of the most masterful literary novels published in recent years.