Two very different people, one very small island.
For Sophie Ducel, her honeymoon in French Polynesia was intended as a celebration of life. The proud owner of a thriving Parisian architecture firm, co-founded with her brilliant new husband, Sophie had much to look forward to--including a visit to the island home of her favorite singer, Jacques Brel.
For Barry Bleecker, the same trip was meant to mark a new beginning. Turning away from his dreary existence in Manhattan finance, Barry had set his sights on fine art, seeking creative inspiration on the other side of the world--just like his idol, Paul Gauguin.
But when their small plane is downed in the middle of the South Pacific, the sole survivors of the wreck are left with one common goal: to survive. Stranded hundreds of miles from civilization, on an island the size of a large city block, the two castaways must reconcile their differences and learn to draw on one another's strengths if they are to have any hope of making it home.
Told in mesmerizing prose, with charm and rhythm entirely its own, Castle of Water is more than just a reimagining of the classic castaway story. It is a stirring reflection on love's restorative potential, as well as a poignant reminder that home--be it a flat in Paris, a New York apartment, or a desolate atoll a world away--is where the heart is.
The flat is in the tenth arrondissement of Paris, on a derelict street called Château d'Eau. To find it is simple: Just take a right at the arch, go down rue Saint-Denis, steer clear of the dog shit, and you cannot miss it. To find beauty in it, however, is a bit more daunting. The charms of the alley do exist, if one squints past the worn-out tabacs and disheveled filles de joie that ply their trades along its curbs. Fortunately, the man who lives there is accustomed to squinting and proud to call the place his home.
He wakes earlier than usual on this particular morning. He does not rise immediately but lies awake for a moment, savoring the stillness of the chill blue hour. Then, at last, he decides to get up. A splash of water on the face, a quick brushing of teeth, a puckering spit, and a satisfied gargle. He smiles at his scarred and bearded reflectiongrayer, it seems, with each passing day.
Ablutions complete, it's time to get dressed. First he slips on an old...
How [two unlikely castaways] manage to survive, physically, emotionally and mentally in total isolation on an island small enough to walk around on an evening stroll is an absorbing story. It is full of all the stages of a developing relationship—getting to know each other, disagreements, compromise, thoughtful gifts, humor, teasing, insults—culminating in a partnership with depth and caring. As the reader looking in, you are sensitive to their fears, frustrations, hopes and love and you root for their survival.
(Reviewed by BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers).
Full Review (552 words).
In Castle of Water, one of the characters is headed to the Marquesas Islands, part of French Polynesia, because he wants to pay his respects to the renowned French painter, Paul Gauguin, who breathed his last there.
Paul Gauguin was born in 1848 in France to a French father and a mother with mixed French and Peruvian heritage. While Gauguin was still a child, his journalist father decided to travel to Peru to develop his career there but unfortunately died along the way. Gauguin's mother journeyed on and lived in Lima for a few years, eventually returning to France along with Paul and his siblings.
Given his prodigious fame in the art world and his talents, it is surprising that Gauguin did not have formal training; he chanced ...
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