- From:The Courier-Mail
- June 25, 2011
ANNE Berry was nine years old and exploring the snow-covered English countryside with a friend when the pair fell through the ice into a freezing lake."We had gone off exploring - we were staying out in the country in Sussex and it was Christmas time," Berry recalls.
"We had wandered quite a long way and came across this ice lake and we thought it would be a lark to skate on it.
"She fell through first and then I went next. We were laughing and having so much fun one minute, and then in a matter of seconds, everything changed.
"It's indescribable. You stop feeling from the waist down the moment the water gets you."
Berry not only recreates this terrifying childhood memory in her new novel, The Water Children, but draws on the life-changing experience to underpin the key theme of her book.
"I've never written about that experience before," says Berry, whose debut novel The Hungry Ghosts was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers' Best First Book Award.
"I have thought about it a great deal. When you are so young, to face something like that where you really know you will die, affects the way you look at life.
"I still know this friend and we're still close but I don't think she thinks about it very much at all. For her, it's something that passed. A childhood thing.
"For me, it really did fire the imagination."
The Water Children tells the intertwining stories of Owen, Catherine, Sean and Naomi, each of whom harbours secrets from their childhood connected to their experiences with oceans, rivers and lakes.
Full review at Courier Mail.
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