Book Review: The Shape of Water
2018-07-01 14:36:11 -

Book Review by Laurel B Lujan

The Shape of Water

by Guillermo del Toro and Daniel Kraus

(Feiwel & Friends)


Produced by the co-writers of the Oscar-winning film of the same name, the novel version of The Shape of Water oozes with water-based analogies but still tells a distinct and colourful tale of people – and a creature – dealing with being outcasts in a changing world.


As someone who has not seen the movie, I still feel that the novel has made a bigger impression on me and has given me a better view of the characters.


The book moves between multiple perspectives, centred on mute Elisa Esposito and her daily routines, and even gives us a first-person view from the enigmatic merman whom she befriends.


The title is just as enigmatic and gives nothing away until deep into the book, when it becomes clear what the metaphor stands for, and how it means different things to each of the characters. For Elisa, water is a source of comfort, not unlike the creature she finds in the US government lab where she works as a cleaner. It’s easy to tell why and how she falls in love with him.


The novel also expands on the film’s villain, Strickland, hired to find the creature in the depths of the Amazon in order to get one over on the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War. The text expands upon Strickland’s experiences, revealing new motivations for his sadistic behaviour.


Even if you have seen and loved the movie, the novel is a must-read for anyone who loves science fiction and fantasy with a bit of romance.

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