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Geoff Manaugh, 7 Sep 10

Israeli novelist Assaf Gavron's recent book Hydromania has yet to appear in English, as far as I can tell, but I'd love to read it when it does.

[Image: The German cover of Hydromania by Assaf Gavron] (via BLDGBLOG)

Set in a drought-stricken world "several decades into the future," run by "water corporations from China, Japan and the Ukraine," it follows the science fictionalized path of a "maverick water engineer" who has developed an illegal black-market technology for purifying rain water. As the website Qantara explains:

The constantly thirsty people drink "Ohiya Water" or "Gobogobo Water," which they must buy from the companies. The private storage of water is not permitted and the ban is strictly enforced by means of an all-seeing surveillance system.

Further, the political geography of the region has been irrevocably changed:

Israeli territory has been reduced to a narrow strip bordering the Mediterranean Sea and to two major cities, one of which, Tiberias, is destroyed through Palestinian military action in the course of the novel. Israel is thus left with only its capital, Caesarea, and some surrounding districts. Countless Israelis are reduced to refugee status: the poorer living in primitive conditions aboard wrecked destroyers off the coast, whilst the better-off inhabit floating residential areas with appealing names such as "Ocean 8."

The book's speculative fictionalization of future water politics won the Geffen Prize in 2009, and has already been published in Hebrew and German, with a Dutch translation forthcoming next year. Anyone out there read it yet? Is it good?

This post originally appeared on Geoff's blog BLDGBLOG.

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