This world is a brilliantly imagined, violent place, and we follow the lives of three people caught in the crossfire this drought produces. Angel Velasquez is a “water knife”, a sort of enforcer for the rich and powerful who define ownership of this precious commodity. Lucy is a cynical journalist and Maria is a dreamer who believes in better things, and together they become entangled in this drama. The people who have water have the power, and therefore the control, which they often use with reckless abandon.
The one disappointment with the audiobook was that it was not read by the author. Having watched Brokaw for years on the Nightly News and seen many of his stand alone news pieces, including his wonderful work on the greatest generation it was jarring to hear a voice other than his recount the story. However, Mark Bramhall is an accomplished reader and after the first few tracks his booming voice draws the listener in. It is a poignant memoir from one of America’s most well-known and beloved newsmen.
The story begins in New York City where identical twins, Edith, the retired librarian and Kat, the free spirit, find peculiar phosphorescent mushrooms growing in their closet. Their landlady Vida is a Shakespearian actress, although she is mostly recognizable for a female sexual enhancement pill commercial she recently did. Vida lives upstairs, as does Ashley, the runaway Russian au pair who is hiding in her closet. When Vida also discovers the funky fungi sprouting in her apartment, the health department condemns the building, sends in the Hazmat team, and life instantly changes for this unusual group of nomads.
To say more would be to give away parts of the story that you should discover on your own. There is a message here about the transitory nature of our existence and the ability we possess to transgress our difficulties. Quirky characters, clever plotting, bizarre humor, and some seriously solid writing make this a very worthwhile read.