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Water Music Reviewed
(T.C. Boyle)

The plot of Water Music, a novel by T.C. Boyle, takes place at the end of the 18th century. We follow the fates of two men, one the famous Scottish explorer, Munro Park, and the other a notorious character called Ned Rise, from the anonymous slums of London.  Two stories unfold at the same time: the wanderings of Park, who discovers the course of the river Niger, and the other follows the vicitidues of Rise in his more or less honest attempts to avoid misery and the bad luck which besets them. These two men, which are separated by fate, education, distance and social class end up,however, by becoming chums and even appreciating one another when they make the descent into hell, which will be the last mission of Park. T. Boyle, in this extraordinary novel, leads the readers into a breathtaking recital rich in events and characters and high in colours. This baroque novel evokes Fielding''s Tom Jones, Sterne''s Tristam Shandy and Anthony Adverse by Harvey Allen or Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad.
The author takes liberties with historical realities and takes the reader from the sordid low districts of London and the jungles of central Africa, peopled by tribes and strange and disquiesting kingdoms. The two central characters of the novel are prisoners of their own respective fate, of this fate that pushes each of them  like a Greek tragedy to the inevitable conclusion of their lives. Water Music is a funny novel, baroque and cruel, surprising and engrossing. A novel to be read without reserve.

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