Review: Water Witches by Chris Bohjalian

Water Witches
by Chris Bohjalian
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Anyone who has ever tried to lose weight can tell you that water is one of the best diet supplements. Anyone who knows me can tell you that water is my element, even though by birth I’m a fire sign. What can I say? Opposites attract.

It should come as no surprise, then, that when I saw a novel entitled Water Witches staring at me from the shelves at Barnes and Nobel, I HAD to take it home, and yet, I left it on my own shelves for months before cracking it open earlier this week.

What I found was a gently comic novel with a hint of fantasy, about dowsers in Vermont trying to fix a drought, while the protagonist of the novel, who was father, husband, and brother-in-law to these dowsing women, was working to aid a ski resort in gaining the proper permits to tap a local river in order to make snow.

As is to be expected in a novel about rural Vermont, there were colorful characters, cozy home scenes, and talk of maple syrup. What I did not expect, what surprised and delighted me, was the way the politics of environmentalism were worked in without the novel ever feeling preachy.

I don’t think I’m likely to pick up a divining rod and go searching for hidden springs under my front lawn, but I did, after reading this lovely little novel, spend a happy hour poking around the website for the American Society of Dowsers.