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Nina Munteanu
Nina Munteanu Author Interview

A Diary in the Age of Water follows the climate-induced journey of Earth through four generations of women with a unique relationship to water. What was the inspiration for the setup to this riveting novel?

It started with one of my short stories: “The Way of Water”. I’d been asked by my publisher in Rome (Mincione Edizioni) to write a speculative socio-political short story about the environment—water, particularly. I wanted something ironic, so I chose water scarcity in Canada, a nation rich in water. The story was about young Hilde—the daughter of the diarist in the novel—who was dying of thirst in Toronto. This is a Toronto under the control of the international giant water utility CanadaCorp—with powers to arrest and detain anyone. A world in which China owns America and America, in turn, owns Canada. I realized that I needed a larger story: on how Canada became this water-scarce nation as indentured state; more on Hilde’s mysterious limnologist mother, Lynna (the diarist in the novel); and more on what happens next (explored through Kyo and her strange world of the future).

Kyo is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind the character’s development?

Kyo starts and ends the story in the sacred boreal forest of the far future. she’s a blue-skinned multi-armed human being—essentially a water-being—looking for answers why the world is the way it currently is due to climate change and other things humanity has caused. She frames the gritty diary part of the story. Kyo represents the future. She’s also a young girl, and in some ways, her part of the story is a coming of age, of self-discovery and growing maturity. Given her metaphoric connection to water, the planet and a new humanity of sorts, Kyo’s character serves as a metaphor for humanity and its own coming of age.

The novel expertly captures a post-climate changed world and the changes it effects on society. What were some themes that were important for you to focus on in this book?

A Diary in the Age of Water is a cautionary dystopian tale that is based on real events and precedents. This is partly why I wrote some of the book as a diary. The diarist—Lynna—is a limnologist who sees what is going on but because she is right in the middle of it, she lacks the perspective to recognize the gravity of some of the things she is witnessing and doing herself. She exercises a myopic protectionism that backfires on her time and time again. Perhaps the main theme of this book is one of perspective and how that perspective can influence actions and reactions in surprising ways. Information and knowledge isn’t enough—as Lynna demonstrates. Context and understanding, fueled by compassion and kindness must accompany it.

Ultimately, the book carries themes of hope and forgiveness—of ourselves and each other—and compassion for all things, starting with water. Each character carries an aspect of that theme, from the diarist’s activist mother, to the diarist’s own cynical protectionism, her spiritual anarchist daughter, and lastly the innocent storm of the last generation.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I’m currently researching and working on the sequel to “A Diary in the Age of Water”—a thriller about four lost and homeless people who find their way when a phenomenon brings them together through a common goal to free the Earth from the manacles of human greed. The story takes place throughout Canada—from Halifax to Vancouver and the Arctic. It takes place mostly during the 2050s, and features a few ghosts, the Halifax 1917 Explosion, experimentation on humans, espionage, murder, and—of course—a plague. I’m calling it my COVID19 novel…

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Centuries from now, in a post-climate change dying boreal forest of what used to be northern Canada, Kyo, a young acolyte called to service in the Exodus, discovers a diary that may provide her with the answers to her yearning for Earth’s past–to the Age of Water, when the “Water Twins” destroyed humanity in hatred–events that have plagued her nightly in dreams. Looking for answers to this holocaust–and disturbed by her macabre longing for connection to the Water Twins–Kyo is led to the diary of a limnologist from the time just prior to the destruction. This gritty memoir describes a near-future Toronto in the grips of severe water scarcity during a time when China owns the USA and the USA owns Canada. The diary spans a twenty-year period in the mid-twenty-first century of 33-year-old Lynna, a single mother who works in Toronto for CanadaCorp, an international utility that controls everything about water, and who witnesses disturbing events that she doesn’t realize will soon lead to humanity’s demise. A DIARY IN THE AGE OF WATER follows the climate-induced journey of Earth and humanity through four generations of women, each with a unique relationship to water. The novel explores identify and our concept of what is “normal”–as a nation and an individual–in a world that is rapidly and incomprehensibly changing.

A Diary in the Age of Water

A Diary in the Age of Water by [Nina Munteanu]

Nina Munteanu’s A Diary in the Age of Water follows the tale of Kyo, a blue four-legged creature in a post-climate-change world. Kyo is constantly plagued by dreams that appear to be experiences from a previous life. Constantly trying to find out the meaning of these dreams and where she fits in in this world and the one that existed before, Kyo spends a lot of the time at the library.

She consequently stumbles upon an ancient diary that holds illuminating revelations and heart-filled messages. As she goes through it and is immersed in its author’s experiences, we come to understand the circumstances that led to the climate change led apocalypse.

With a lot of scientific terms, explanations, and even drawings, the plot is quite believable, and can even be a little scary. The fact that Nina goes as far as mentioning our current world governments and how they contribute to this now desolate world is eerie, to say the least.

As a reader, part of me even begins to think that this could truly be our earth’s fate, giving me serious jitters. Now I may just be gullible but this book is quite convincing. Clearly, the author did a lot of scientific research before writing it. She dives deep into the science and various spiritual beliefs that support the inevitability of an apocalypse. As far as science fiction goes, this one is quite believable.

Moreover, the character development is quite strong, leaving us with a deep understanding of characters like Lynna and Hilde. The use of storytelling through different timelines is also quite an efficient way of weaving all the details of the story together.

Ultimately, this story is extremely detailed and well thought out. However, the many scientific paragraphs, even though drenched in poetry, can make it difficult to read, especially for those without a proclivity for science.

While bringing attention to the current politicization of climate change, the story maintains  important underlying themes like family, love, forgiveness, and the complexity of the human soul. The author has gone to great lengths to show that there are different layers to each character, none fully evil nor fully good. A Diary in the Age of Water is an exceptional and thought-provoking dystopian fiction.

Pages: 301 | ASIN: B08D6YDVVK

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