I picked up The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi because I loved his award winning 2009 novel, The Windup Girl. Both have to do with a dystopian future where resources are scarce and hoarded by the few.
In the case of The Water Knife, the south-western United States is going through an incredible and destructive water shortage. To make matters worse, water is being hoarded by corporations who claim water rights on rivers and lakes, thereby owning the water and making it difficult for the majority of the population to access unless they are willing to pay large sums of money for it. The novel focuses on three characters; Angel, a mercenary-type character who works for the corporation running Nevada’s water supply, Lucy, a journalist that takes on the plight of the people, and Maria, a poor woman who is looking to escape the Phoenix “thirst” she has grown up in.
While it had many elements that I enjoyed in reading The Windup Girl, I had difficulty in becoming as immersed in the world he was creating. I found the description of the setting minimal and, perhaps because I have never been to that area of the world, found understanding the geography that made water so hard to come by outside of my grasp. Continue reading