Advance Praise for The Language of Water
“The diverse ensemble of characters in Elizabeth Clark-Stern’s debut novel includes royalty and subsistence farmers, teens and the elderly, fierce warriors, and dedicated pacifists. Each character is compelling, complex, and struggling with the types of difficult decisions that can shatter souls. But the core protagonist in the novel, the only one truly powerful, is the natural environment.
“The action takes place in 2100, when climate change has created extremes in the global distribution of, and access to, water. The divide between Haves and Have Nots is an ever-widening chasm. Regional conflicts sparked by dwindling natural resources are rampant. Agriculturalists have developed a plant, the pea cactus, that grows in harsh environments and can be processed into a variety of goods, but worsening floods and periods of drought make this, at best, a last-gasp measure.
“It is a world severely out of balance, but not quite out of hope. Clark-Stern captures the inflection point toward which we are barreling at break-neck speed, the moment when humans—having contorted ourselves to our limits in a desperate effort to maintain life as it was before climate change—are forced to decide if we want to die clinging to old ways or give up illusions of power and embrace something new.
“The Language of Water is a balm for nerves frayed by the fear of impending environmental disaster and a bracing vision of how balance might be restored to our off-kilter world.”
—Kate Boyes, author of Trapped in the R.A.W.-
“Elizabeth Clark-Stern has created a marvelous adventure that takes us into a mysterious future where the climate is out of control. Her characters vibrate with creativity, passion, and imagination as they bring an evolving world to life.”
—Beverly Olevin, Kirkus Award-winner for The Good Side of Bad
“I found this novel’s complex characters and the richness of their relationships—in love and in war—tremendously compelling. Sara, Kethuda, Ruqia, and the rest of the cast are skillfully drawn. A story about the future devastation wrought by climate change has the potential to be a grim read, but instead Elizabeth Clark-Stern has written a gripping feminist tale exploring love and power, violence and forgiveness, despair and hope. The Language of Water is a page-turner and a paean to resistance.”
—Gwynne Garfinkle, author of Can’t Find My Way Home
The Language of Water back cover description
The dawn of the twenty-second century finds women in a new world where water ---the lack of it, or the over-abundance of it—shapes their inner and outer lives. Sara turns eighteen and longs to join the all-women’s Kurdish army to wrestle control of the headwaters of the Euphrates River from the grip of Turkiye’s first woman President, calling herself “Ataturka.” These two women share a common enemy that has infected the globe: climate despair. And yet, in the darkest hour there is cause for hope. A new technology born of the secret substances of the Earth, could transform the planet. Only the power structure of humanity stands in the way. Are Sara and Ataturka able to help one another create a new form of feminine power defined by the depth and scope of their hearts, or will the Water War bitterly divide them? Will their passion for life, for love, for a world where all living things can flourish pull them down into the darkest cavern of the human soul, or catapult them to the stars?
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Elizabeth grew up writing stories and plays, which ultimately led to a career as a television screenwriter. Her produced credits include the critically acclaimed All I Could See from Where I Stood (PBS), Having Babies II (ABC), and Help Wanted (CBS), the latter nominated for an Emmy. She is particularly proud of an independent documentary, Home from the Eastern Sea, which she wrote and co-produced with an all-female creative team. Originally aired on PBS, now distributed through Kanopy, the film was honored with a NAFTA American Scene Award, and a Cine Golden Eagle. In tandem with screenwriting, she worked on novels, drawn to the duel reality of inner and outer life. This eventually led to a new calling as a psychotherapist. She worked with the most vulnerable populations, seeing first-hand the tragic impact of class, race, gender, and mental health inequality. She studied the depth psychology of Carl Jung, and opened a practice offering the healing modalities of sand play and dreams. This work brought her writing to a whole new level, a world of symbols and archetypal forces not limited to the conventions of time and space. She was presented with an Achievement in the Arts Award from the Seattle Psychoanalytic Community for producing and publishing four plays and Soul Stories, a collection of two novellas. Elizabeth’s dearest treasure is her loving and laughing family. The image for her Aqueduct debut novel came to her in a dream.
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For information about her historical plays on psychological themes: NANA SOPHIA'S OASIS, THE DEEPEST SECRET OF EVERYTHING: Da Vinci and Renaissance feminist Artemisia Gentileschi (2018); THE MOVEMENT OF THE MOON: Camille Claudel, Life Phases of the Feminine in Art, Madness, and Love (2016); TIMELESS NIGHT: Viktor Frankl Meets Edith Stein (2014); ON THE DOORSTEP OF THE CASTLE (2013); and OUT OF THE SHADOWS (2012) — A Novella, SOUL STORIES: Safari to Mara and Aria of the Horned Toad.
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for performance information, special theatrical events, times and places,
cast lists, etc., see the ShrinkRapt Theater Company website.
Bonnie Bright's interview for Depth Insights with Elizabeth Clark-Stern "On the
Doorstep of the Castle — An exploration of the Divine in the story of Teresa of Avila"
Elizabeth hosts the Depth Psychology Alliance online book club for October 2015
Kathleen Miller's interview (text) with Elizabeth Clark-Stern for Babymap magazine
Radio interview by Bonnie Bright, founder of Depth Psychology Alliance, on their choice of
Elizabeth's Out of the Shadows as their on-line book club selection
Copyright © 2016 Elizabeth Clark Stern; Photo copyright © 2004 John Stern