With a friendly, warm voice and clear, well-paced performance, Abraham Verghese narrates his second novel, The Covenant of Water (31.5 hours), which follows three generations of a South Indian family from 1900 to the late 1970s. The tale begins with 12-year-old Mariamma, who is arranged to be married to a 40-year-old man whose family members have a “condition” that leads to water-related deaths. Verghese poetically weaves the family’s faith with their mysticism as they search for an explanation for these losses. As Mariamma’s father says, “Faith is to know the pattern is there, even though none is visible,” and likewise the reader will find themselves seeking providential clues.
There’s no denying that this ambitious novel and its many subplots make for a very long audiobook, but Verghese gives voices to his ensemble cast that reveal the deep tenderness he has for their experiences and will carry listeners through the whole tale.