Originally published in the Summer 2019 issue of SPOKE+BLOSSOM
THE WATER KNIFE BY PAOLO BACIGALUPI
In May of 2015, Paonia author Paolo Bacigalupi published his sixth novel, “The Water Knife.” This science fiction story of a near-dystopian future feels a little too scary and hits close to home considering the drought conditions we faced on the Western Slope last year. Bacigalupi depicts a world where “Big Daddy Drought” hits, and the Colorado River is no longer sustaining. His story follows the three characters Angel, Lucy, and Maria in Phoenix, Arizona as they face dry conditions, regulated water use, gruesome murders, slumlords and ethical questions regarding humanityand the fight over water. When legality and ethical questions arise over water rights, not only do the states turn on one another, but so do our main characters.
As a woman, I enjoyed seeing such powerful and diverse female characters. My particular favorite was seeing the Queen of the Colorado, Catherine Case, kick butt and take names for Nevada’s access to water, securing their wealth over Arizona. Being a behind-the-scenes influence, I didn’t question the fact that she was the one in charge. Despite not seeing much of her, I was ecstatic to see such a powerhouse of a female character. I also read in shock, awe and horror at how fiercely our other two main ladies fought to survive in this brutal dystopian world. They had what it takes to live in a world where people work the streets just to get a decent shower and an opportunity to wash their clothes. When I read the scene where the Californians destroy the Blue Mesa Reservoir, causing the immediate evacuation of Hotchkiss, Delta, Grand Junction and Moab, I couldn’t help but pause and wonder how I would handle a disaster if one were to ever hit Grand Junction.
Upon completion of this insane page turner, I’ve decided to be glad that I don’t live in a Mad Max-esque world where slumlords and lawyers control the water and put you in a cage with ravenous hyenas if you make them angry. Thank goodness this is fiction. I’ve found myself enjoying my showers a lot more lately, and I might also wish for some more summer showers to head our way. Personal reflections aside, this action-packed thriller is non-stop and does its genre justice.
KANNAH CREEK GOSE
Not only do I recommend this book, but I also suggest reading it on the patio of Edgewater Brewery. Kannah Creek’s second location sits right on the River Front Trail on the Colorado River and is a complete must. The wonderful patio and grassy area are a perfect place to enjoy our superb summers. Reminiscing on how lovely and full of water our river is, I just had to stop by and enjoy a good brew. If you choose to read this novel, I highly suggest pairing it with Kannah’s Gose. As a traditional German ale, it not only looks light and crisp but tastes like it too. This ale is meant to start off with a slight sour taste caused by a natural reaction to the salt, citrus and coriander added to the brew. The Gose isn’t too sour, but just enough to appreciate the flavor as you first sip. It then leaves you with a slightly sweet and crisp finish. Drinking this beer is just like reading a dystopian novel. It’s a little sour, good for reflection, but slightly sweet at the end. I certainly find it incredibly sweet knowing that while we get to enjoy some impressive craft brews, we also still have the ability to really enjoy, love and take care of our rivers. Cheers!