Novel Review

Oprah Winfrey Selects Abraham Verghese’s Latest Novel for Her Book Club

Abraham Verghese - The Covenant of Water

Oprah Winfrey has recently selected “The Covenant of Water,” the eagerly anticipated new novel by Abraham Verghese, as her latest book club choice.

The book, published on Tuesday, marks Verghese’s return to fiction after the tremendous success of his million-copy bestseller “Cutting for Stone” in 2009. “The Covenant of Water” is a sweeping multigenerational tale that unfolds in India from 1900 to 1977.

Abraham Verghese’s Latest Novel Is Oprah Winfrey’s Choice

On “CBS Mornings” Tuesday, Oprah Winfrey made her selection known and expressed her enthusiasm about it in a press release. She described the novel as “epic” and said it takes readers through a journey of love, loss, family secrets, and global history. The scope of the novel impressed Winfrey, and she couldn’t resist reading it until the end.

“This is a novel of epic proportions that takes us through love, loss, family secrets and global history. The scope of this novel is truly breathtaking, and I couldn’t put the book down until the very last page.”

In a statement, Oprah Winfrey referred to the book as one of the top five she has ever read in her lifetime. She called it “transportive” and “epic,” saying that it made her stop and catch her breath multiple times while reading. She found it so engaging that she couldn’t put it down until the very last page, saying that it was truly “unputdownable.”

“This is one of the top five books I’ve read in my lifetime. And I’ve been reading since I was 3. It’s epic. It’s transportive. Many moments during the read I had to stop and remember to breathe. I couldn’t put the book down until the very last page — it was unputdownable!”

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Verghese recounted his feelings of receiving the call from Winfrey, something that countless authors dream of, as a “miracle.” He reflected on his thoughts, which took him back over a decade of writing “The Covenant of Water” during a time when his mother passed away, and the Covid pandemic was upon us. After their long conversation, he realized that he had unconsciously stood up and remained on his feet throughout their chat.

“My thoughts were racing back through the decade-plus of writing ‘The Covenant of Water,’ during which time my mother died, and Covid had descended on us. After we hung up I realized that I’d reflexively risen to my feet and stayed that way throughout our long chat.”

Verghese, the celebrated author of the bestseller Cutting for Stone,” which has mesmerized more than 1.5 million readers in the United States and lingered on The New York Times Best Sellers list for over two years, is all set to captivate his fans once again with his much-awaited release, The Covenant of Water.”

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About The Novel

The novel, set against the backdrop of Kerala, a picturesque coastal region in South India, spans seven decades from 1900 to 1977, chronicling the travails of three generations of a family grappling with a peculiar curse – one person from each generation meets a tragic end by drowning.

About The Author

The 67-year-old Ethiopian-born physician, Abraham Verghese is also the author of two memoirs. He was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Barack Obama in 2015, and lauded for his “range of proficiency,” encompassing his advocacy for empathy in medicine, and his compelling portrayals of the human experience.

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