Anja Kampmann’s debut novel is an exquisitely lyrical tale of an oil platform worker whose best friend goes missing, plunging him into isolation and forcing him to confront his past.
One stormy night aboard a drilling platform in the Atlantic, Waclaw returns to his cabin to find that his bunkmate and friend, Mátyás, has gone missing. A brief search of the rig confirms his fears that Mátyás has tumbled into the sea. Waclaw is given shore leave and begins to travel, at first rather aimlessly, meandering around the Moroccan town where he and Mátyás used to spend their time away from the rig. There he discovers what appears to be the body of his friend on the beach. Grief-stricken, he makes his way to Hungary, where he stays with Mátyás’s sister, Patrícia, and immerses himself in memories of his time with Mátyás. As he ruminates on the past, Waclaw finds himself returning increasingly to his own origins, and the circumstances that led him to take the job on the oil rig.
High As The Waters Rise is a highly poetic exploration of male friendship and grief. It is a captivating read, delving into a lifestyle that will be unfamiliar to most readers, but which is becoming increasingly topical as oil becomes harder to find and extract.