Is it possible to fully comprehend a person when you don’t grasp the intricacies of their culture, when you don’t share a homeland or a voice, when you have different definitions of the past and conflicting commitments in the present? What future is there for love when you find yourself the other side of language – a place where everything feels slowed down, reduced to gestures, as if under water?
When Joseph meets Marta, who has come to the UK to research the forgotten histories of remarkable women from across Europe, he is captivated, and Marta feels the same; when she returns to her previous life, their relationship continues through letters and phone calls. Then Joseph decides to visit Marta in her native Poland. His subsequent journey, across a continent, through the cold and dark of an unfamiliar country, proves as much a search for understanding – of a person, a place, a language – as it does a struggle against isolation.
"The tenderness and severity of Hopkin’s vision is absolutely unique. This is a beautiful and moving novel." Olga Tokarczuk, winner of 2019 Nobel Prize for Literature
"A delight in the infectious magic of words animates this novel and makes it a seductive and irresistible read I doubt there’ll be many more accomplished debuts published this year." - Independent on Sunday
"Constructed with poetic subtlety …impressively complex and lucid." - TLS
"Polish makes a fine muse for an English writer and its fascination is the flame which dances and glows throughout… Hopkin has a pleasing ability to be elegiac and satirical in the same breath." - Independent
"Hopkin beautifully conveys the sensation of being a stranger in a strange land struggling to reach a true understanding of the woman he loves… chilly and atmospheric." - Times
"The narrative flits across time with liquid eloquence and an exuberance that reinforces Hopkin’s fascination with the way that darkness and light define people, places and relationships." - Observer
'Sentence by sentence, image by image, there are few contemporary writers who understand words the way Hopkin does. In fact, I can think of no other. If you care about fine writing, read Winter Under Water' - M J Hyland
Territories: Picador: British Commonwealth & European Community ex. Canada
Polish: Spoleczny Instytut Wydawniczy Znak