Winter Under Water: or, Conversation with the Elements
By James Hopkin
Published by Picador (14 Jun 2012)
Is it possible to fully comprehend a person when you don't grasp the intricacies of their culture, when you don't share a homeland or a voice, when you have different definitions of the past and conflicting commitments in the present? What future is there for love when you find yourself the other side of language - a place where everything feels slowed down, reduced to gestures, as if under water?
When Joseph meets Marta, he is captivated, and when she returns to her native Poland, he follows her. His subsequent journey, across a continent, through the cold and dark of an unfamiliar country, meeting all sorts of characters, and culminating in KRAKOW proves as much a search for understanding - of a person, a place, a language - as it does a struggle against isolation.
James Hopkin has lived in Berlin, Manchester, Krakow and several other cities, countrysides, and by-the-sea places (including Dalmatia) in Europe. In September 2002, he won an Arts Council short story competition with 'Even the Crows Say Krakow'. He signed to Picador the following year. Winter Under Water (2007) was an assured and critically-acclaimed debut novel marking the arrival of a major new writer.
His short stories have been anthologised (see the forthcoming Cargo/McSweeney's anthology, 'Elsewhere', for the Edinburgh International Book Festival, August, 2012) , and broadcast on BBC Radio 3('Rostropinov') and BBC Radio 4 ('The Mural at Frau Krauser's', 'A Georgian Trilogy', 'A Dalmatian Trilogy'). A small collection was published in 2008 (with an ebook version in 2011), along with the paperback of Winter Under Water. He won a J B Priestley Award in 2010, and a Society of Authors' Award in 2011. His new novel, 'Say Goodbye to Breakfast!' (Picador) will appear very soon.
James Hopkin has written as a freelancer for the Guardian since 1998, with travel pieces, interviews and book reviews. He is a tireless promoter of European literature and speaks German and Polish. But it is in English that you will find him at his best! Author M J Hyland writes, ''Sentence by sentence, image by image, there are few contemporary writers who understand words the way Hopkin does. In fact, I can think of no other. If you care about fine writing, read Winter Under Water.'' While Ali Smith writes, ''Hopkin is a writer of grace and vitality''.
More information about James Hopkin and his current projects on the author's official fbk page: JamesAHopkin