The Drowner, Robert Drewe

A beautiful, haunting book  about water, its taste, lush opalescence, and its absence, thirst, desert madness, dessication. The narrative shifts from early 19C Bath – where the two lead characters meet in the pool – to Western Australia, where the young engineer navigates water hundreds of miles inland to the goldfields. People get water fever, typhoid and all the frontier craziness of exile and reinvention, but its the prose that catches again and again, filling the mind’s eye with rich imagery.