Reviews

Waiting for the Waters to Rise by Maryse Condé

jacobs_books's review against another edition

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challenging dark emotional reflective slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.25

sadiereadsagain's review

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3.0

I think what drew me to pick up this book was the mention of Haiti, as I've not read a book set in that country and know very little about it. Plus, the premise sounded intriguing - an African doctor, Babakar, is left holding a baby after her mother dies in childbirth, and takes it upon himself to return her to her mother's country of Haiti in order to reunite her with her family.

So, on the Haiti aspect this book really delivered. The power struggles, international aid/interference and impact of climate change are all discussed as the story unfolds. But it isn't only Haiti this book takes you to - whilst the second half of the book is all set there, we travel through many different countries on the way and through some thought provoking prose on the nature of belonging, home, displacement and what makes a motherland. This is done not only through the story of Babakar, but his companions - a Palestinian in Haiti, and a Haitian who had fled to Guadalupe. I was glad of this, as I didn't really warm particularly to Babakar.

The story of returning the baby does get a little lost in all that other context though. She, like women in general in this books, is very much just a plot device with which to link the stories of the men together. I wasn't keen on that aspect, and coupled with the lack of warmth I felt for Babakar I found that something in this book just didn't touch me in the way I had hoped it would. It's a solid book, but not one I connected with particularly deeply.


I received a Netgalley of this title from World Editions in return for a review. All opinions are my own.

wamannabanana's review against another edition

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adventurous challenging emotional mysterious fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

4.5

sam_bizar_wilcox's review

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4.0

Maryse Condé brings together both a narrative that is enthralling -- a sort of modern Silas Marner -- and commentary on global migration. Where this novel is most compelling is in the multiple perspectives that the narrative inhabits, digging into what it means to be in Haiti -- a country where the living and the dead comingle -- as people who straddle international boundaries. Babakar is the main character. Malian, he comes to Haiti by way of Guadeloupe, where, in the process of delivering a stranger's baby, the mother dies. Babakar then decides to go to Haiti to find the baby's family. In the process, however, Condé gives space for other characters to share their stories and how they came to Babakar's orbit. In almost interlocking chapters, characters deliver autobiographies that feel decidedly honest in tone and scope (filled with intricate minutia but never overstuffed). The book also investigates how friendships and global solidarity is formed in a broadly post-colonial context, linking Palestinian freedom to a Pan-African movement to an Afro-Caribbean struggle with intelligently realized geodiversity.

Maryse Condé is, perhaps, one of the most astute anti-colonial storytellers, and her world of fiction is one that is profound to inhabit.

amyjo25's review against another edition

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adventurous challenging dark sad slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.0

sarahtonin_099's review against another edition

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emotional reflective sad tense slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

3.5

spiderfelt's review

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3.5

Other reviewers have pointed out how masculine these stories were, leaving the women to be objectified and idealized accessories to the plot. Things happen to the women, but the female characters are not given the opportunity to voice their inner lives. They become devices on which the stories of the men rest. 

vlwelser's review against another edition

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reflective medium-paced

4.0

samanthasboekenhoekje's review against another edition

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4.0

In Tot het water stijgt volg je voornamelijk Babakar, maar ook krijg je het levensverhaal van een heel aantal andere personages verteld. Al die verhalen waren stuk voor stuk erg interessant en leerden je vaak iets over de recente geschiedenis van verschillende landen over de hele wereld. Door de meeslepende schrijfstijl van Maryse Condé blijf je nieuwsgierig en lees je het boek al snel uit!

Doordat er ook zoveel andere personages aan bod komen, gaat het verhaal van Babakar redelijk traag vooruit. Het tempo van het bek ligt vrij laag, iets waar je als lezer voor moet zijn. Ik vond dat niet erg omdat ik al die andere verhalen zo leuk vond, maar ik kan me voorstellen dat andere lezers dat minder leuk vinden!

milwaukee_scheherazade's review against another edition

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challenging dark reflective sad tense slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.75