Blackwater – The Complete Saga by Michael McDowell

4C86D523-F1B9-4318-A4A1-662441A77DEBOh my goodness! Reading other reviews I see I am in a very small minority who found this story far too drawn out. That is not to say I didn’t enjoy it. As I came to the last chapter I was actually sorry, on one hand, to say goodbye to the Caskey family and yet, on the other, quite relieved! 

A saga, of course, is a saga and not a short story and I see that this was originally published in several parts. Perhaps, had I listened to the book in parts (an Audible book magnificently narrated by Matt Godfrey) instead of going straight through, I would have found it less daunting. 

About the story: It opens after a devastating flood has inundated the town of Perdido, Alabama. No one has completely escaped the fury, not even the wealthy Caskey family. During the aftermath, a woman, Elinor Dammert, is found stranded in a hotel room and is taken in by the family. 

And so the saga begins… 

It’s part family history, part horror, though, apart from a few key moments the horror is very low key. 

It quickly becomes clear that Elinor is not the stranded newcomer in need of shelter that she claims to be, and she does indeed prove to be the central figure in this complex cast of characters. Her motivations were less clear. The survival of her species? She certainly is also capable of very human traits like revenge. 

The Caskey’s unremitting wealth, despite many family members being either too disinterested or simply incapable of contributing to the business was, at times, hard to believe. The way in which certain actions and attitudes were explained also left me wide eyed. However, the sheer scale of the story was impressive and the characters finely drawn.

Although I did not know this author before, I see he wrote other well received works and I am tempted to try another in the future. 

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