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Watermark

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Watermark Cover

ISBN13: 9780061849275
ISBN10: 0061849278
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The daughter of a papermaker in a small French village in the year 1320—mute from birth and forced to shun normal society—young Auda finds solace and escape in the wonder of the written word. Believed to be cursed by those who embrace ignorance and superstition, Auda's very survival is a testament to the strength of her spirit. But this is an age of Inquisition and intolerance, when difference and defiance are punishable "sins" and new ideas are considered damnable heresy. When darkness descends upon her world, Auda—newly grown to womanhood—is forced to flee, setting off on a remarkable quest to discover love and a new sense of self . . . and to reclaim her heritage and the small glory of her father's art.

Review:

"Medieval France is no place to be born albino: when Auda emerges from the womb 'undercooked' and 'white as bone,' an ignorant healer's apprentice tears out the child's tongue to keep her from 'spread[ing] the devil's lies.' Though her mother dies in childbirth, a small stroke of luck graces Auda's childhood: her father makes his living as a scribe and a papermaker, so she learns reading and writing to compensate for her inability to speak. Together, father and daughter work to make his experimental paper the new standard for France's writing stock (replacing parchment); against the odds, they field an order from the local vicomtesse, who then takes on Auda as her personal scribe. At the palace, Auda grows more independent and finds romance with an artist who saves her from a witch-hunting mob. When Auda begins writing potentially heretical verse about women's empowerment, however, she tempts fate and the inquisition, setting off a chain of unlikely events. Though improbable plot twists detract, Sankaran has created a likable, easy-to-root-for protagonist in Auda." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

"A+ author insights, extras & more"--Cover.

About the Author

Vanitha Sankaran holds a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from Northwestern University and an M.F.A. in creative writing from Antioch University. Her stories have been published in various print and online journals. In addition, she is a founding editor for the literary journal flashquake. She is at work on her second novel, which is about printmaking in Renaissance Venice.

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

gaby317, April 27, 2010 (view all comments by gaby317)
Watermark: A Novel of the Middle Ages opens with the event of Auda's birth, her welcome to the world, and a glimpse of the superstition that she faces throughout her life. By the time Auda is grown, she has learned her father's craft and has learned to express herself clearly in her writing. Few of the people around her are literate, but Auda has fashioned a life for herself.

Between assisting in the papermaking, serving as a scribe, and hiding her albino features, Auda has learned to move around in her world. Despite the danger to her person, Auda is not one to trade freedom for safety or independence for marriage. Though with the spread of the Inquisition's power, Medieval Europe is fraught with danger for anyone who seems different - and Auda knows that she can never blend in.

When Auda obtains the job of scribe in the castle, she flourishes. Her skills and writing bring her the respect and appreciation of powerful women. But her writing and beliefs also bring danger and loss.

Watermark is a carefully crafted and fascinating work of historical fiction. It's a story of love, fear and superstition, and of the struggle to keep one's identity.

ISBN-10: 0061849278 - Paperback
Publisher: Avon A (April 13, 2010), 368 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher and TLC Book Tours.
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Mirella, April 15, 2010 (view all comments by Mirella)
In Narbonne, France, in the year 1320, a midwife and her apprentice aid a woman in the desperate throes of childbirth. The baby lies trapped in her belly and the mother is faced with a terrible decision – cut the baby from her belly or both she and the child will die. But when the child is sprung from the womb, it is evident there is something amiss with the child who is born with unnaturally white skin and odd-coloured eyes. Believing the child is from the devil, the apprentice flees with the newborn to the river where she cuts out the baby’s tongue, silencing it from ever speaking the devil’s words.

Mute, Auda grows to womanhood in a time fraught with the dangers of the Inquisition. Her father, a scribe, skilled in the new art of papermaking, teaches her to read and write. Writing affords her an escape from the realities of her harsh life, giving voice to the thoughts she cannot speak. She aids him in producing the paper which is more affordable than parchment. Whenever he takes her out into the world, she is careful to cover her albino skin with hood and mantle for fear of catching the attention of the Inquisitors.

When their new art of papermaking comes to the attention of the vicomtesse, she takes Auda into her household as her personal scribe. Auda's newfound independence leads her into trouble, however, when she is accosted by a mob who believe she is a witch. A young artist comes to her rescue and love soon blossoms between them.

As Auda’s writing grows bolder, the vicomtesse encourages her, even though her work is considered heretical and in support of the intelligence and power of women. But the arms of the Inquisition are long and Auda and her father find themselves captured, facing a bleak, almost incomprehensible fate at their hands.

Watermark is the poignant, multi-faceted tale of a mute albino woman who must navigate a path in a world fraught with intolerance, suspicion, and fear. Vivid with description and details, from the very first chapter, the reader finds themselves immersed in the story. The art of papermaking has been carefully researched and described, relaying a strong understanding of how paper replaced parchment and ultimately changed writing and reading forever. The terror brought by the Church and the Inquisition, is also a major source of conflict within the novel and is believably represented.

But it is the heart-rending tale of a horribly disadvantaged young woman that is at the true heart of this story. Papermaking and scribing offer consolation to her muteness and state as an albino, which force her to live in seclusion and on the fringes of a society who will never accept her. Through vivid language and in depth descriptions, Vanitha Sankaran nudges the emotion and credibility out of the story, making the reader truly understand the complexities of this turbulent era through the thoughts, dialogues, and actions of her characters.

Watermark is a delightful, engaging tale about determination, perseverance, love, and forgiveness.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780061849275
Subtitle:
A Novel of the Middle Ages
Author:
Sankaran, Vanitha
Publisher:
William Morrow Paperbacks
Subject:
General
Subject:
Historical - General
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade PB
Publication Date:
20100413
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
368
Dimensions:
8.08x5.42x.91 in. .62 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Watermark Used Trade Paper
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$3.95 In Stock
Product details 368 pages Avon a - English 9780061849275 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Medieval France is no place to be born albino: when Auda emerges from the womb 'undercooked' and 'white as bone,' an ignorant healer's apprentice tears out the child's tongue to keep her from 'spread[ing] the devil's lies.' Though her mother dies in childbirth, a small stroke of luck graces Auda's childhood: her father makes his living as a scribe and a papermaker, so she learns reading and writing to compensate for her inability to speak. Together, father and daughter work to make his experimental paper the new standard for France's writing stock (replacing parchment); against the odds, they field an order from the local vicomtesse, who then takes on Auda as her personal scribe. At the palace, Auda grows more independent and finds romance with an artist who saves her from a witch-hunting mob. When Auda begins writing potentially heretical verse about women's empowerment, however, she tempts fate and the inquisition, setting off a chain of unlikely events. Though improbable plot twists detract, Sankaran has created a likable, easy-to-root-for protagonist in Auda." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , "A+ author insights, extras & more"--Cover.
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