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Parthian Books

The Element of Water (Library of Wales)

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Longlisted for the Booker Prize

Winner, Wales Book of the Year

Library of Wales edition

Foreword by Kirsti Bohata

‘Truly extraordinary’ - A L Kennedy, The Guardian

‘Davies’s fusion of past and present is masterly. A revelation’

-The Independent

‘A timely study of race, identity, prejudice and forgiveness’

-Big Issue

‘Resonating with poignant imagery, this outstanding novel examines the best and worst of human nature’

-The Times

It is 1958: Isolde Dahl is a young teacher who goes to work in a British school on the shores of Lake Plön in north-west Germany. She is returning to a country she fled as a child refugee with her mother, Renate. Her father has disappeared into the chaos of a continent ravaged by war. Isolde has grown up in a Wales both strange and familiar.

1945, Lake Plön. Michael Quantz is an officer in what is left of a shattered German military command as they stage a last chaotic stand before the Allied armies in the final days of the World War II. Everyone has secrets. Michael wants to survive: his wife and son may still be alive. He will hide, change, become a teacher of music.

As Isolde and Michael meet on the shores of a German lake, the choices they have made and the stories they have told will change their lives again.

Author Bio

Stevie Davies photo

Stevie Davies was born in Salisbury, Wiltshire, though she lived in Swansea, Wales from a week old, and spent a nomadic childhood in Egypt, Scotland and Germany. After studying at Manchester University, sh went on to lecture there, returning to Swansea in 2001. She is Professor of Creative Writing at Swansea University. Stevie is both a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a Fellow of the Welsh Academy. Her latest novel, Awakening, published by Parthian in 2013, was her twelfth. Stevie has won numerous awards for her fiction, and has been long-listed for the Booker and Orange Prizes. Several of her books have been adapted into radio and screenplays. She writes for The Guardian and The Independent newspapers, and is a passionate sea-swimmer, cyclist and walker along the Gower.