If only I could write like her


I’ve just finished reading THE ELEMENT OF WATER by Stevie Davies. What a wonderful writer she is. Poetical, descriptive but still able to move the story forward at a good pace and keep the reader’s interest all the way through. The story is about two young German people who meet after the war, at a British school in Germany. Gradually they and the reader discover about their fathers’ past – one a Nazi officer and the other a German soldier who witnessed the atrocities that happened but was powerless to do anything about them.
Davies’ skill lies in bringing the characters to life and invoking in the reader mixed feelings of sympathy, horror, loathing, anger and understanding. Nothing is in black and white. Yet it is not a depressing read. There is hope in the ending, through the attitudes and beliefs of the younger generation. Written with a number of flashbacks to the war itself, the novel gives a clear picture of what occupied Germany was like in the years immediately after World War II. Well worth reading, if only for Davies’ delightful prose.


Joan Fallon is a writer and novelist living in Spain.