Gracie said, "ENGLAND: Waterland, by Graham Swift (about the Fens)."
Graham Swift's Waterland relates Tom Crick's attempt to reclaim his life, or, in his words, "to make things not seem meaningless" (p. 241). Tom, a history teacher, believes that "History begins only at the point where things go wrong" (p. 106). The novel begins when Tom is fired and his life falls apart. Not only is he being fired, but his entire department is being cut. The novel tackles the question, Why study history if it is all coming to an end? History is necessary because of our curiosity and the need to know. Our desire to know means that we must look at history, and all of its mistakes, and take heed.
Set in the bleak Fen Country of East Anglia, and spanning some 240 years in the lives of its haunted narrator and his ancestors, Waterland is a book that takes in eels and incest, ale-making and madness, the heartless sweep of history and a family romance as tormented as any in Greek tragedy.