Three Views of Crystal Water By Katherine Govier
This is a lucid and exotic tale of greed, lust and love - a literary saga, spanning two generations and two cultures, Canadian and Japanese. The story is told by Vera. Suddenly finding herself to be motherless at the age of six, Vera is left in the care of her grandfather, who has recently returned to Vancouver after spending long periods away at sea. After his death Vera is taken by her grandfather's mistress to a small island in Japan. There Vera comes of age amongst the brave women divers of Japan. After years of loneliness, Vera finds a place where she can feel comfortable. Nurtured by the ama community, she learns to dive 45 feet with a single breath. Immersed in her surroundings she meets a mysterious stranger, a man who is trained as a ceremonial sword polisher, who brings her into touch with the outside world.
Every day, they listen to the mounting rhetoric on the radio and must live with the knowledge of the havoc that the Japanese are wreaking in China. In the lives of the simple fisher folk, loyalty is everything. But, Vera is an outsider, and she must go home to Vancouver, return to a father whom she has long thought dead. The idyll is over. In the murky streets of Gastown, Vera comes to understand the pearl-lust that has divided the men in her family. But it is years before she discovers what catastrophes war has brought to her friends and what deliverance to her young lover, and herself. Part fable, part history and entirely original, this novel is infused by Govier's profound reflections on nature - both earthly and human.