Winter Under Water

or, Conversation with the Elements

James Hopkin

'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

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.

Interlinking Joseph’s often strange experiences with Marta’s letters to him, Winter Under Water is a book about who we are and who we choose to love; exploring issues of isolation and identity, of home and belonging, it is also, ultimately, a book that suggests you only truly know a person or a place when you can sit in silence and not feel compelled to break it -- in any language.

‘Winningly confident . . . There are few first-time novelists who have an ability to conjure language to such magical effect. The prose is littered with the sort of startling and poetic metaphors that continually persuade the reader to pause and savour in satisfaction, and Winter Under Water is a seductive and irresistible read. I doubt there'll be many more accomplished debuts published this year’ Independent on Sunday

'A chilly and atmospheric first novel about crossing cultures . . . Hopkin beautifully conveys the sense of being a stranger in a strange land, struggling to reach a true understanding of the woman he loves' The Times

Genre: Fiction
ISBN: 978033042680001
Published: 15/02/2008

James Hopkin

James Hopkin

James Hopkin has lived in Berlin, Manchester, Krakow, Zagreb, Leipzig and several other cities, countrysides, and by-the-sea places across Europe. His short story 'Even the Crows Say Kraków' won the inaugural Norwich Prize for Literature and is available in a small ebook collection of the same name. His critically-acclaimed debut novel, Winter Under Water, was published in 2007. His short stories have been widely published, anthologised and are frequently broadcast on BBC Radio, the latest in December 2014. Hopkin has won numerous awards for his fiction and has written non-fiction for the Guardian since 1999, including travel pieces, interviews and book reviews. He is a tireless promoter of European literature; he speaks German and Polish, has been a guest professor at the University of Leipzig, and has held writer-in-residence posts in Croatia, Georgia and Denmark to name a few.

You can find more information about James Hopkin and his current projects on the author's official facebook page: JamesAHopkin or on his website:

Photo credit: James Howard

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