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Fabienne BayetCharlton

Watershed by Fabienne Bayet-Charlton & Summer at Mount Hope by Rosalie Ham

April 2006, no. 280

Fabienne Bayet-Charlton’s Watershed begins, ‘… such is the realm of water. It cradles yet suffocates. Warms and cools us. Sustains, nurtures and kills us.’ Indeed, the bonds and binaries of the element are central to this narrative – not simply the presence or lack of literal water, but also fierce emotional currents that threaten to submerge its main characters.

Set in contemporary South Australia’s Murraylands, Watershed centres on ex-champion swimmer Eve Buenetti, who is lost in a barren psychological terrain following the presumed drowning of her son, David. The novel also explores her husband Marconi’s response to the tragedy, and the tangled rivalry and sexual tensions between Eve, Marconi and his brother Victorio, the womanising town mayor. As in many explorations of rural communities, tangential storylines evolve, providing a break from the Eve–Marconi narrative and insight into other town dwellers, such as cryptic newcomer Jasmine.

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