The Cover Says •
It is several decades into the future. The world is dry. It is effectively ruled by the water corporations from China, Japan and the Ukraine, who own most of the world’s fresh water sources, and control its flow and distribution .
Maya is in search of her missing husband Ido, a maverick water engineer who invented Ji-Ji, a revolutionary system that enables people to collect and purify rain water for their own use.
As she slowly unravels the fate of her husband, Maya goes on a journey that takes her from Caesarea, the last remaining Israeli city, to the village of Harod – where she leads the locals to prepare for the expected rainfall.
Hydromania is a story of survival and empowerment in a future that is not-too-distant and in a reality that is easily imaginable.
The Review Says •
“Despite the severe physical thirst it may occasionally arouse in readers, there is something very refreshing about this book.” Inbal Malka, Haaretz >>>
“Hydromania is an exciting eco-thriller, thematically topical, and satisfyingly complex in its handling of the issues.” Volker Kaminsky, qantara.de >>>
“One of the most refreshing, thought-provoking and readable novels published recently.” Lilach Volach, Ynet >>>
“Israeli novelist Assaf Gavron’s recent book Hydromania has yet to appear in English, as far as I can tell, but I’d love to read it when it does.” Geoff Manaugh, BLDGBLOG >>>
More Info •
Winner of the Israeli Geffen Award, 2009 >>>
Winner of the WIZO Netherlands Book of the Year 2012 Prize >>>
Read Some •
Part I: Eternity
She wakes up thirsty, as usual, but this time it’s harder, as if there is sand in her throat. She straightens up in her bed and strokes her throat, trying to transfer saliva from her palate so the swallowing won’t hurt. Then she moves the same two fingers to her arm, halfway between her left elbow and shoulder, and touches a tiny nodule under the skin. I have no money here, the thought crosses her mind. I have nothing. This piece of Silicon-Titanium might as well be used as a toothpick. Then she remembers what Dagi told her.
She gets out of bed and climbs the internal ladder onto the roof. It is crowded with Ji-Ji containers, receivers and sensors, and a Cloud Watching Tower, but she has managed to clear a corner, and from it she now observes the long sand dunes, the sea with the aqueduct and Herod’s harbour. Beyond it the floating neighbourhoods and the old Russian destroyers are visible, and further north the Caesarea metropolis and the communities surrounding it. To the east the sun is already high, its haze hiding the mountains, brownish-gray outlines at this time of day, looking as far off as they really are, unattainable. The sky is completely clear, as always.
She likes her roof, but this morning she hasn’t come up here to enjoy the view. She checks her private storing containers, the Ji-Ji, to see whether they caught some of the morning dew, whether there is anything left. She moves from one container to the next, knowing by heart the lock combinations, taps them in, turns to open the lids, and opens the last fingerprint-reader lid, with her small finger. She knows what she is going to find. After all, last night didn’t produce liters of precipitation, so she is not going to discover a secret reservoir of fresh water. She is nearing the end. She will dry up. The next rain is expected in December, and that is three months away. She will not hold out until then. She has no money to buy enough water for herself, and not only for herself. She will need – they will need – more water than ever in the near future.
She sinks a cup into the container. The display on the water line shows 9.3 liters. She feels hot and she touches her arm and requests the temperature: 32.6. Requests the time: 8:12. Lucky there are still a few free services. With the cup, careful not to spill a drop, she returns down the ladder to the apartment. She drinks slowly from the small cup, sip after sip, swallowing with decreasing pain, holding the liquid in her mouth, wetting all the corners, sucking it through her teeth, finally swallowing the thin trickle.
She touches her arm and requests a voice conversation with Dagi.
“Maya,” he says, in her ear. She fastens the straps of her sandals above and below her ankle. ”Dagi. Tell me once more about this chip.” She hears him smile. She isn’t smiling. “Yesterday you said you were not interested.”
She puts her Toyota C shades on the bridge of her nose, smoothes her short hair back and closes the door behind her. “Now I am,” she says. He says, “Come to breakfast.” She touches her arm to disconnect.
She loves walking in town, but the densha is free if you don’t want to pay and you’re prepared to watch ads, and she prefers not to sweat. She gets on at South six and touches the map at North three, Dagi’s stop. She lets the scanner read the chip in her arm and transmit ads to her Toyota C. “Ya Maya, Ohiya – dive into life.” The drops in the hologram look so real and cold that she puts her tongue out and tries to catch them. Come on, she shakes her head. Exactly what she needs now, that the biggest water corporation in the world will invite her to dive into her life. Actually, maybe it is what I need to do, she thinks. By the time she arrives at North three she sees ads for Gobogobo, promising a once-in-a-lifetime deal, and for Vizi. Other ads are not for water: Honda communication booths, chips by Chinese Express. Finally she has enough, lowers the volume as much as possible, and shuts her eyes.