Noria is studying to become a tea master and so is entrusted with a secret passed down through generations; a hidden spring concealed from everyone, including the authorities.

“Tea and water do not belong to tea masters, but tea masters belong to tea and water.”

page 91

The scarcer the water, the heavier the burden of knowledge.

Memory of Water is a lyrical exploration of a dusty world where water is precious and secrets are dangerous.

Why is this on our bookshelf?

In this future world, you may recognize a cassette tape or a compact disc, but for the characters, they are incomprehensible technology from a past world.

Memory of Water was nominated for the Philip K. Dick Award.

Rating (4 stars)

Dystopias may be harsh places, but Memory of Water is filled with poetry and grace, just like the flow of water.

I had a little trouble getting started, but once I did, this was a quick read. I loved the thematic use of water, and how Noria struggled with the secret of the illicit spring.

However, the descriptions of the past-world technology seemed a little blatant, as if the author was afraid readers wouldn’t be able to figure out the object described was a VHS tape or CD. Despite it feeling contrived, it did make an important point on the fragile nature of technology.

Despite the circumstances, the book wasn’t a downer like some dystopian novels. Instead, I felt a little nugget of bittersweet hope at the end.